I woke up one morning recently with the sudden realization: E is one year away from being in the double digits. It took me back to when she was negative years old and I counted things by months—that was the last time double digits were mentioned in conjunction with her age. And in so many ways that feels both like yesterday and a decade ago.
An even scarier thought? In exactly another 9 years she will be on the cusp of graduating from high school.
WHAT. IS. HAPPENING.
I don’t miss the baby years, I really love the stage we are in. But I’ll say the most obvious thing that every single parent says: it goes so fast. Ever since both kids started elementary school I swear it’s a continuing cycle of first day of school, blink and it’s suddenly Halloween. Then it’s Christmas, blink and it’s already time to celebrate birthdays. Last day of school and half a blink later it’s the 4th of July and then boom! back to school. And repeat.
Before Marc and I got married, someone told me to make sure that I give myself moments to just take it all in. To really look around and enjoy the moment. Because of that I was very purposeful on our day and actually did that. I have the most vivid memories of those moments and when I reflect on that day I am filled with so much love and happiness.
I’ve been trying to do this with the kids. To appreciate the small things—the times they reach for my hand or rest their head on my shoulder. When E gives me her journal to read (she’s not in that “this is private” stage yet, she’s still in the sharing phase) and I see a sentence about how much she loves her mom. The way her face lights up when she’s dancing or practicing piano or climbing all over playground equipment and she sees me watching her. Or how after B and Marc leave for baseball practice and she excitedly tells me that she’s so happy it’s just the girls.
Another way I try to consciously remember things better is taking notes throughout the year about moments or things said that I think are funny or sweet or important. And then I put them all together for this annual love letter to my daughter.
I’m trying to take it all in. Appreciate it whenever I remember. Because I swear the kids were just in diapers and pushing each other over as they tested boundaries. Now they don’t need diapers anymore but there’s still pushing. And definitely still testing of boundaries. I don’t think that is changing anytime soon.
On to events and things said over the past year. I always have to start with reading…E continues to have a passion for reading and finds the most unique places to enjoy a book. She also discovered the world of Harry Potter this year and the rest is history. She’s a FAN.
E is very smart. But my favorite moments are when she half gets something. Like she knows what is going on but the reasons aren’t as clear. For example, we were watching Our Planet one night and as an animal was on top of another B asked what was going on.
B: What are they doing?
E: They are mating.
B: What’s that?
E: It’s when a male wants the female to like her so he climbs on top.
I also just love how blunt she is—in the most polite way possible.
Last year on the evening of her birthday she had multiple family members that wanted to call her and wish her a happy birthday. At the end of one call she said, “I don’t mean to be rude, but I have another call.”
She is VERY popular.
And she literally ALWAYS has a quick response for her brother.
B: I wanna be a lion when I grow up.
E: Like an actor?
B: No like a real lion. I just have to grow a beard.
E: Oh, well then you’d probably need a mad scientist’s help.
This year E also started piano lessons. And it has been incredible.
One day I asked E what we could do to cheer her up after a bad day. She started talking, stopped, and then said, “I just wanna play the piano.” After playing for awhile, she said, “I love playing the piano, it just makes me feel better.”
And prior to us having the piano delivered her excitement was palpable. She kept asking when we were getting it and in the end it was delivered during a morning they weren’t here. As she was leaving she had this to say.
“So when we get home the piano will await us?!”
“Await us.” She kills me with her phrasing! She’s also very inquisitive. Another time that you could tell she reads a lot just by the way she phrases things.
“Is hail the most dangerous precipitation?”
(It’s not in case you were wondering. I posted this question on Twitter and some local weather people answered her query.)
I’ve also discovered that she’s a film critic.
While watching a movie one day she said, “Oh thank goodness the getting in trouble part is over! I don’t like that. Now there’s just tension.”
E also continues to love art and frequently sneaks in some “creative” time before school.
She even made our Christmas tree topper this year!
E is very sensitive. She really doesn’t like conflict.
Once E was reading a Ramona book and she stopped, shook her head, and said, “She’s so embarrassing I can barely handle it!!!”
She is genuinely a very sweet child. Last summer we surprised the kids by having a play set installed while they were at a friend’s house. They had no idea we had even purchased one. Her reaction is one of the best things I’ve ever recorded.
I really love the creative way the kids play.
One afternoon I noticed the kids playing Candyland together but not at the same time. They were taking turns playing on their own and watching each other. And the one not playing would narrate the experience as though it was a sporting event on tv.
Seriously, the stuff they come up with…
I walked in on the kids playing group therapy with legos and their dolls. Each doll would raise a “concern or problem” and the rest offered suggestions.
It was actually a very cool thing to witness.
When telling the kids where I was working at the time (a company named BestMark), E had a quick reply.
“Well, we know who the real best Marc is.”
The way she looks at things is so descriptive and unique. It oftentimes stops me in my tracks.
Once there were four cars at a four-way stop and they all kept stopping and going at the same time. I was annoyed and was about to say something about just wanting someone to go and from the backset I hear, “it’s like the cars were doing a little dance there.”
Instead of being annoyed I was suddenly smiling.
Her wisdom also causes me to pause. On the night we had to do the most difficult thing I think I’ve ever had to do, let Copper go, she reminded us all of how important it was to feel our pain.
“It’s ok to cry, it’s actually good. It’s better to get it out instead of holding it in. Crying will help you to feel better.”
BIG sigh. Moving on…
When she was finishing up with a book she was writing she had an awareness about things I don’t remember thinking about when I was 8.
“I need to make sure I leave room for my self-portrait and author’s note.”
She’s also no dummy. She knows who holds the real power.
“Grandma is usually the one who ends our arguments.”
Speaking of arguments…after a rather trying afternoon E and I had this exchange.
Me: Honestly! Will you guys ever stop bickering & fighting?!
E: Let’s ask the Magic 8 ball!
Me: *eye roll*
E: Will we stop bickering?
Magic 8 Ball: Outlook not so good.
Me: That’s the most honest Magic 8 Ball ever.
E: Now you know.
And finally, the birthday survey. For the record this is the first year that purple is not in the top for colors. Pink is still up there, but this is BREAKING NEWS.
Favorite Color: blue & pink
Best Friend: Kylie
Favorite Snack/Treat: ice cream
What do you want to be when you grow up: an artist
Favorite Song: Me! by Taylor Swift & All For Love by Sigala (this is the song she danced to for her after school dance program showcase)
Favorite TV Show: Garfield
Favorite Movie: Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
Favorite thing to do with family: family Uno night
Favorite Book: Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
Favorite food for breakfast: donuts
Favorite food for lunch: grilled cheese
Favorite food for dinner: pizza
Most important thing learned so far: how to play piano
Favorite Toy: Barbies & American Girl doll
Are you afraid of anything: pitch black dark
Favorite thing to do outside: go on play set
Favorite place to visit: Florida
Mom's favorite thing to do with you: listen to you play piano
Dad's favorite thing to do with you: watching you swing & climb all over the play set—it’s amazing! For example:
What is one thing you want for your birthday: furniture for dolls
How are you celebrating your birthday this year: Harry Potter sleepover
So happy birthday to my little E-bear. I’m so proud of all you have accomplished this year. Even though I wouldn’t mind time slowing down a little, I can’t wait to see the young lady you are becoming.