Ten. You are ten whole years old. It is a decade that has passed in a flash. You and I, we’ve been together for a whole decade. Where did the time go?
I swear, it was just yesterday when I was dreaming you into life. It is true what they say- blink and you’ll miss it. We’ve learned a lot together, you and I. We also have a lot ahead us to learn together.
You were the first.
I love your dad and I love your siblings and our family, but you, My Girl, you were my first true, unconditional love. While I’ve taught you a lot (or at least I hope I have) you need to know that you have taught me so much more.
You taught me how to be a mom.
First, there was the excitement of anticipating you and then you were here. I read all of the books and I tried as best as I could to absorb all of the advice. However, none of that could properly prepare me for the trial by fire that is motherhood. I’ve been on a crash course since that beautiful day I looked into your eyes the very first time.
You and I have both been learning and navigating this thing called life and this parent-child relationship on the fly. I figured out how to decipher your needs and wants. I learned and am still learning your personality. Together, we’ve figured out likes and dislikes and boundaries. Oh, goodness, the boundaries which we have both tested and will continue to test from time to time.
Looking back over the last decade, I realize that in a lot of ways you’ve been the real teacher.
You have taught me about love. I have known love in my life before you, but the mother and child bond is something completely different. It has been in some of the hardest moments that I have learned that that unbreakable bond is what keeps us going.
My love for you has made me appreciate the love of my parents so much more. I get it now and I understand why they did the things they did a lot more then I did before. Love is tough sometimes and sometimes tough love is needed. I also grasp more of the lengths to which I would go as a Mama Bear to keep protect you.
You have shown me what true perseverance looks like.
You were a pretty easy baby and have always been a cheerful child. However, before you became the chatterbox you are today, you spent some time learning how to find your voice. It took a lot of tears, a lot of prayers, and a lot of hard work before at three and a half the flood gates opened up.
It was so hard for me to watch you struggle to find words and to be seemingly reaching for something you couldn’t quite get. You pushed through with that smile on your face. You worked so hard. Sure, there were setbacks and there were plenty of uncertain moments, but you did it, kid. You found your voice. You are still my superhero.
You’ve shown me how important it is to be true to yourself.
I have to admit, I am jealous of your confidence. You have been doing things your own way and following your own drummer since the day you entered this world. With any luck, you will still be following that same beat when you march on out of it many, many, many years from now.
You have been original and authentic since day one. There has always been light and sunshine in your eyes. I used to worry before you started school and headed out into the world that some of that light would dime. I would worry that you would be concerned more about fitting in that being true to you. I still worry about that and I will continue to worry about it as you grow older.
But, I am proud of you. I am proud you have maintained your individuality. You are unapologetically who you are. I love that about you. I wish I could be a lot more like you in that respect. I wish I could do more of what makes me happy and worry less about what others might think. You are rubbing off on me though and I am definitely a work in progress.
Thank you for the gift that is you. Thank you for all the lessons that you have taught me. You were kind of the guinea pig since you came first, but you set the standard for your siblings. You have taught me how to be a parent and I am sure your brothers and sister thank you for that….most days. Thank you for loving me even when I have failed and I have gotten it all terribly wrong.
That’s the thing, Love. We have survived the last decade and grown up together, but there is still a lot of life and lessons in front of us. There will be some bumpy roads and unchartered waters (hello, teen years!) I may not always get it right. I hope we can remember to give each other grace as we face growing pains. I will try to be patient with you and I hope you will remember to be patient with me too.
Happy 10th birthday, Sweet Girl!
Thank you for being my greatest adventure and my biggest accomplishment. Thank you for all the love you have given to me. I am so lucky to be your mama and I am so incredibly proud of you. I look forward to all the life, love, and adventure ahead of us.
Do me a little favor though, SLOW DOWN! You are growing up much to fast. My mama heart can’t take it. I know you are so excited about your future and the things you have to look forward to, but I am trying to absorb all of it. I know I will miss these times all too much when they have passed.
I love you always – right up to the moon and back.