My Sweet Girl,
You just turned nine on Saturday. Nine. On your birthday, I pulled you into my lap and tried to hold you like I did for the very first time nine years ago. In part, I was being silly, but in part it's because I still feel those six pounds in my arms. I still remember the first moment I held you and you looked up at me with those big blue, trusting eyes. Needing me for everything. Seeing the world reflected through my eyes.
You grew, and in your toddler years I saw the world reflected through your eyes. You helped me rediscover all the magic that was in the world. Your joy in the little things helped me find my own again. I may be a teacher, but you are a far better teacher. You taught me how to be your mom, and you taught me how to follow your lead and find joy in the journey.
Then I blinked, and now here you are:
Here's what I need you to know as you officially embark on these tween years, sweetheart. We are going to argue. We are not going to see the world the same way. There are going to be days that just plain suck. But...and this is a critical but...I will always be in your corner. I will always be here to listen. I will even try not to give unsolicited advice. On the days that are wonderful I will be the first one to make a toast, and on the days that are hard I will be the first one there to catch you.
You have taught me how to be your mom from the very beginning, and I have every faith that you will continue to teach me how to be your mom now. When I screw it up, know it is done with great love and I'll do better tomorrow. When I get it right, know it was also done with great love and it's because you are one incredible kid.
I love you with every fiber of my being, and you will always, always be my baby. So let's just promise each other to keep dancing, keep laughing, and keep talking. The adventure is just beginning...
All my love forever and always,