Two days ago you turned nine-years-old. NINE. It’s your last single digit year! How can that even be possible? There are days when I look at you and I can’t help but see that chubby-cheeked baby with the dimples around her eyes. But you’re aren’t that squishy babe anymore…you’re growing longer and leaner, with a face that more closely resembles the woman you will become than the baby you once were. Although I still see the sparkle in your eyes that you’ve had since you were a gummy-mouthed infant, something I truly hope never fades.
This year was our first being completely overwhelmed with activities and schedules. You are a kid who wants to try anything and everything, which is WONDERFUL, but a bit difficult to navigate in terms of the number of hours in a day. You begged for horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, soccer, piano, guitar and Girl Scouts. You love swim team and book club. In short…YOU ARE EXHAUSTING! I struggle with this as a parent, because I want you to have every opportunity to try new things, but I also think your free time as a kid is so precious, and I felt between school and activities, you didn’t have too much of that this past year. This year, I’m looking forward to working on having less scheduled time, and more time to just BE. So far this summer has been full of free play, swimming with friends, tree climbing and imagination…which is exactly how it should be.
I feel like I’m watching you change before my eyes, and I’ll be honest, it’s a bit terrifying. You’re entering that stage of childhood that is just “in between.” You’re not a tween or a teen, but you’re not a little kid anymore either. You love pop music, but you also love nursery rhymes. You’re mature enough to read novels, but you still want to snuggle with me before bed. I know this sweet time is fading fast, and I want to hold on as tightly as I can. I’m aware that before I realize it, you’ll no longer want those nightly snuggles. So instead of pushing them off or telling you I don’t have time, I crawl in to bed with you and we giggle about our days together. I take mental pictures of every moment, filing them away for those teen years when hugging your mom in public will be the absolute worst thing ever.
I’m so proud of you, Lulu. You’re growing and learning and becoming more “yourself” every day. Watching you navigate friendships and relationships outside of our own has taught me so much about the person that I want to be. I want to be like you. I want to assume the best of people, forgive and love without limits. I want to be proud of who I am, and surround myself with people who lift me up. I want your courage and generosity.
Thank you for this past year, my sweet girl. I can’t wait to experience NINE with you. I imagine it will probably be the best year yet!
Love you to the moon and back,