A few weeks ago, you turned eight-years-old. How is this possible? I can’t explain it, but apparently when you feed and clothe and bathe a little human, they tend to grow and change and one day they are rolling their eyes at you while saying “Seriously, mom?” I don’t understand it, myself, but I’m not the smartest person you’ll ever meet either. I guess that’s a lesson I wanted you to learn later in life, but it’s already too late. We’ve reached the point in this parent-child dance where you teeter back and forth between thinking I am the greatest person on the planet or the absolute worst. I am learning this is part of the game called motherhood, and I’m trying to handle it with grace. There are days I succeed and days where I fail miserably, but I hope you can see I’m trying. For me, it is not “success” or “perfection” that is important, it’s the act of trying, again and again, even when it’s hard. I want you to see I’m flawed and I make mistakes rather regularly, because I don’t want you to think of your parents as infallible. But I do want you to see when I make said mistakes, I own up to them. It’s okay to screw up, Lulu, but you have to take responsibility for your actions, and I’m still learning this as an adult. Hopefully you’re a more apt student than I, and you won’t spend years learning this lesson, but even if you do, it’s okay. Just try again.
You are becoming someone entirely independent, someone outside of myself, which is an adjustment for me. Today I dropped you off for your first day of a week-long theater camp, and all morning you were nervous and full of angst. You went to this camp last year, but you were still afraid of not knowing anyone and didn’t want to wear your glasses because you were afraid of being teased. This broke my heart, and I tried my best to keep it light and fun this morning, but the cloud over your head wouldn’t lift. Then, we arrived at camp, and while I was filling out paperwork I saw you talking to a few other girls. When I looked up to say goodbye and take a photo of your first day, you were gone, over the hill with your new posse of girlfriends, without even a backhanded wave. I almost went after you, demanding a hug and a high-five, but as I strode across the way, I realized what a total dork mom I was being, and decided better of it. I gathered up your little brother and we left without our goodbyes, but inside I felt joyful knowing you were finding yourself in this group of new friends. My childhood theater friends are some of the best and most generous people I have ever known, and realizing you may build similar relationships this week makes me so happy.
You are young for your grade, Lulu, turning eight as many of your friends are rounding up to nine. I think I am spoiled because of your young age, sometimes forgetting you too will keep having birthdays and growing into an entirely new person. All year I tell people, “She’s seven!” and then one day you’re not and I’m flabbergasted. Every year it happens and every year I’m caught off guard. I just realized I’m going to have to let you go off to college a year earlier than most of your peers and all of a sudden I’m furious with the unfairness of it all! I guess that’s part of being a parent, wanting so much for the years to go by faster so life seems easier, only to beg for them back once they’ve past. I’m grateful to have these letters to you, these little love notes I’ve been typing out since the day you were born. I can look back and remember that sweet, round face throughout the years, and still see her in the giant almost-third-grader who sits in front of me.
Lucy, I admire you. You are smart, funny and brave. You have great comic timing. You love to read and devour books the way I did as a child, all at once, with no stopping until storylines are resolved. You are methodical and creative. You are an artist, an actor, a gymnast, a fish, a friend, and a sister. You and your brother are partners in crime, enemies at moments, but mostly loving. You are so patient with his endless antics and you try to teach him the ways of the world. You are as an older sister should be, even as you yell, “TATE!!!” in that horrible, shrill voice when you find he has destroyed the Barbie Dream House you spent an entire day organizing just so. And yet, you still read him bedtime stories and sing to him when he’s afraid. You are the best.
I know the upcoming year will hold new challenges for us, and even in those moments when I’m the absolute worst, I’m assured, deep down, you still love me to bits. You just may not realize it at the moment. My sweet Lulu, I love you to the moon, the stars and the supernovas light years away. You are my heart.
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