How did this happen? A turned 11 today. Wasn't it just yesterday she was crawling across the floor playing with J as he chased her? Didn't she just learn to read - and immediately start correcting me if I skipped one word? Wasn't it last week that she was begging to take dance classes and I was making every excuse in the book, certain that a child of mine could not possess dance genes? How did she turn into this still girl, almost-young-woman I see?
One of the things I love best about A is how she hasn't turned out to be who I thought she was. I thought she was more like me than she is, but she's a fabulous blend of me, J, other family member and her own unique idiosyncrasies. And that makes me excited for all of the other surprises that await me as I watch her continue to mature.
In celebration of her birthday, here are eleven of the multitude of things I love about dear A:
She Dreams Big: she wants to audition for So You Think You Can Dance, be a professional dancer and then be a librarian after her dancing career is over.
She Loves Kids: A is quite serious, but has a wonderful nurturing side that emerges in the presence of little ones.
She Loves Books: I sometimes watch this girl and think to myself, "I want her life." I wouldn't be surprised if she read 200 books this year. I am green with envy.
She Is Still A Kid: At her age, I was all about growing up, but A's favorite Christmas gifts were toys. And she plays with them. She has plenty of time to be an adult and I'm thrilled that she's taking the time to enjoy being a girl.
She Knows Her Heart: Whether it's her desire to dance, the right book from the library or what she wants for dinner, A knows what she wants. What a gift! Since she knows what she wants, she can pursue those things.
She Asked for Tomato Tart, Salad and Brownies for her Birthday Dinner: Now that is a kid I love. A dinner that's easy, yummy and pretty healthy.
She Is More Than Meets the Eye: She's serious, funny, silly, smart and so much more.
She's Messy: OK, so I don't love this about her. But I do love that she's learning to blend her desire to keep her room strewn with items with my desire to be able to walk on the floor. She's adapting, I'm adapting. Isn't that what family is all about?
She's Learning: To cook, to take notes, to do difficult math, to tackle things she thought she couldn't do.
She Can Do Things I Can't: Who wants children that are mini-me's? Not I. Instead, I am thankful to have a daughter who can dance, who can hear music in a way I can't, who is living her very own life.
She Is Teaching Me to Be a Better Mom: Last night as I prayed with A on her last night as a ten year old, I gave thanks for this girl who made me a mom and who has gently ushered J and I into parenting. I can only hope she learns as much from me as I learn from her.
Happy Birthday, Sweet A!