Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dear Del :: 9 years

Dear Del,
I think because you were my first "baby", the one we decided would be the last to be birthed ... it's unreal that you're in your last year of being a single digit - ever!
I see me in you more and more. And you'll put your foot down with passion, explaining why you disagree with this reality or that norm ... and I don't disagree with you. But sometimes we have to do things we don't like - like emptying the dishwasher, or math, or deal with illness.

You are totally aware of all that is around you. You can tell when someone is sad (and you either empathize or you get mad and say with their sadness is not justified) and you know all the mugs that exist in our vast collection and notice when a new one appears.
You can spend hours lost in a book and love reading the same books over and over. You love spending time with friends. You go outside on every even marginally nice day there is. You love playing board games - Apples to Apples is the most requested, but you need three people to play at a minimum.

You love your sister and want hugs from her ... but no kisses! (and she thinks they go together). But you also are frustrated with her at times. You and Noah can be the best of friends with your inside jokes ... but you also drive each other crazy.

As you get older, I'm more and more appreciative of the women in our family that you are drawn to. You go hang with Nina every night, you're always up for a sleepover at Grammy's, you'll text Tante A at the drop of the hat, and you Auntie Chels always means you're going to have a good time. These women, in addition to our strong community of women will surely be an incredible resource more and more as you navigate pre-teen and teen stuff. Because there's a lot of stuff to come, I'm sure.

You still come into our room most nights before bed, for a hug. You love to be read aloud to. You received a laptop for Christmas and now you've fallen down a rabbit hole of story writing, online friends, games, and youtube. I can't imagine how my parents navigated this evolving digital world -or maybe more the parents with kids 5-10 years older than me. It's tricky enough for us to know how to parent with screens, but at least we have grown up with the internet ourselves. Then again, while some things are the same - youtube has been around since very very early - sometimes we feel just as lost as anyone - you're watching people play video games on youtube?? That's a thing. Apparently it's not just you and Noah. So there's that.

You're adamant that you never want to go to regular school and when we get into conversations where you're disagreeing with some fact I'm talking about ... I tell you the story of when you were preschool aged and I mentioned that 2+2 equals 4 and you became adamant that that wasn't true.
We finally got to piercing your ears ... and you're so proud! I am too! You rocked the whole thing, reassuring us that it didn't hurt.

During homeschool camp, you spent more time away from me, hanging with your friends. You've been working on mastering a cartwheel for as long as I can remember, so the grandparents arranged for you to start gymnastics - which you LOVE - except for one tiny thing ... you wish it was every day. I'm so proud of you when I see how strong and well you use your body. It feels like I can see the embodiment of one of our biggest parenting goals - that you feel empowered and that you're completely and totally supported in whatever choices you make.

It's so fun to see how in so many many ways you've grown and matured. You're getting taller every day, it seems. You're quick on your feet - literally, and with your mind. You impress me with your confidence and also your ability to articulate your feelings, even really really hard feelings. You're smart and capable. Even when you're feeling overwhelmed, you tend to get angry about it, not sad. The anger seems to motivate you to try harder.
In other ways - you're still the baby that gets angry and sleeps sweetly, the toddler you has plenty to say, the preschooler who knows what's right and what's wrong and will work to keep everyone on a steady path, the kid who will hug you when she thinks you've been wronged and yell at you an hour later when she feels she's been wronged.

Thanks for being you. I'm so glad you're part of our family. You keep everyone doing what they're supposed to be doing and offer criticism and encouragement as you feel it's needed. We wouldn't be us without you.
I love you forever and ever,

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