I remember as if it was yesterday, the moment that I learned I was going to be a mother. I know, because I had been waiting for it my whole life. While I knew from a young age that I wanted to make a difference in the world, I had no idea that the greatest transformation of my life would come through you.
You were the first...the one that I researched and agonized over every choice from breast to bottle feeding, organic versus DIY baby food, setting a schedule or letting you set your own, childcare versus staying at home, reading, American Sign Language, micro-soccer, t-ball, preschool curriculum, Catholic school versus public, non-toxic, GMO free finger paint...you name it, your papa and I scrutinized every choice wanting the absolute best for you at every turn. Not that we don't for your sisters, we just don't have time anymore and well, they seem to be doing just fine.
And on this day, that you turn double digits, you are still our Guinea pig with parenting decisions about friends, sports, homework, bedtimes, sleepovers, music and literary choices. We're still learning with you.
So thank you. Thank you for hanging in there with us. Forgiving us when we expect too much, because we really do set the bar very high. Smiling when I repeat myself over and over, not for fear that you won't double check your responses on a Social Studies test, but because I feel better saying it four times instead of just once. Thank you for being an extraordinary big brother...the kind of role model to Kate and Claire that really takes my breath away. Thank you for reading with them and not always hitting as hard as you could when engaging in Nerf gun wars and dragon battles.
Thank you for being interesting. I know that sounds weird, but you really are. You're curious and engaged and you want to know about the world and the people who are in it. And you really have no idea how cool that is in a person. Thank you for loving to read and to write and for challenging papa and I to read the material that you are.
But most importantly, thank you for being both courageous and kind almost always in the same moment. Thank you showing up comfortable in your own skin, to be your own person, to do your own thing and to respect the kid next to you who is doing his, but to also stand up for the one who needs an extra hand.
I can hardly believe that God has gifted you to us for entire decade. And that, in six years you'll be driving and in eight years, you'll be gone to school in a far off land changing the world, just like I had dreamed of.
But while you're here for just a little longer, I'll say thank you for making me a mother. It is the greatest gift of both courage and kindness that I have ever known.
Here's to an amazing tenth year...may you rise to meet it in all that it offers...knowing that I'll be here every step of the way.
I love you,