You have spent 2919 days on this earth, and tomorrow will be the eight-year anniversary of the most important day of my life, the day I became a mother. This year, this transition from 7 to 8, has been all about transitioning the power of your life into your own hands, simultaneously invigorating and terrifying.
What a learning curve we faced! Last year’s birthday ushered in new hope surrounding your health, tightly packaged in superstitious silence, rubbing of rabbits’ feet and wishing on stars. Now it amazes me that you will spend the year of being eight with (hopefully) health and only monthly treks to Children’s. If the stars align as they should, and our bodies behave as we bid them, you will have 365 days this year where normal kid drama is the most and only drama we face.
Not to say normal kid drama isn’t without its drawbacks. When we moved to our (hopefully) forever home you were thrown into a new chapter of childhood with the turning of the key. Living on a block inhabited by over 15 kids in elementary school, your new life consisted of riding bikes, skinning knees, dancing in yards and never, I mean never, voluntarily coming into the house when evening came. You have navigated the social politics of multi-age friendship groups with an amazing amount of charisma. It is quite charming when our doorbell rings 6 times in one evening, all from different friends begging to play with you.
Your year hasn’t been without struggle, though. We found a program meant for brilliant little stars like you, but in order to increase your likelihood of acceptance we had to change your school in January for the second year in a row. We moved you to public school, had you tested, and now have you placed in a magnet program for gifted children. This will require yet one additional school change, this time within a single district. You are probably the only second grader at your school who has seen the inside of four elementary school classrooms, learning from three completely different pedagogic leanings. I hope this change is the last one, though, and that you flourish in an environment where your peers think like you do.
Milestones were plentiful as well little bug. You lost most of your front teeth, demanded and chose your own haircut and style, stopped mismatching your outfits on purpose (this one brought me to tears, little bug, although you are so fierce in your style now), and learned to read at a 10th grade level. You and your cousin by choice W found ways to be connected even though you are both alpha, you maturely ended a friendship that wasn’t working for you, you left a house when you felt unsafe and went home even though there was peer pressure to stay and you stayed true blue to yourself in every way. I wish I had the understanding of myself and my boundaries that you do, Twinkle, it would make all parts of life so much easier.
It has been a real learning year for me as a mom. I had to learn how to let you fail, let you fall, let you try, and let you succeed on your own. I have kept you in a bubble of protection and love just waiting for a sign from the universe that you were ready to break free. The sign came from you, actually, looking me in the eyes and telling me you loved me but would prefer it if you could do your own thing for a while. There were weeks where we only had family game night, days would go by without a family crafting project. I would ask you to play, you would hug me, tuck my hair behind my ear and tell me sweetly that you were going to choose a different activity this time.
Sometimes you would get home from a friend’s house, or delicately dance back into this reality from some place deep in your imagine, and cry that there was no longer enough time to also play a game with me. I would cry, too, but more out of relief that there was still that desire to have those moments with me.
Watching you grow up would be a lot harder if you weren’t so amazing. We sometimes joke that you are a seven-year-old Daria (watch it on Netflix, you will not be disappointed). You are honest, wickedly smart and unnerving in your forwardness. You write stories with palpable fear and excitement, you write, star in and direct plays that make me laugh so hard I snort milk out of my nose. You do your chores without being asked, you always remember to take your medicine and you never forget to brush your teeth. At seven you have the grace and humility I wish more adults would embrace. You move me with your uninhibited level of awesomeness.
On this day, the day before you turn eight, this is my promise. I promise to let you continue to grow up, even if that means growing independent from your family as you find your own voice. I promise to always do everything I can to be the mother you deserve, and to always apologize when I bungle it up terribly. I swear I will honor you and your choices and teach you through example that your word is strong and you own your own existence. I will fall in front of a train for you, take a bullet for you, or tell you that you didn’t want to be friends with that snot-nosed booger-face anyway. I will be the mother you need, sometimes not the mother you want, but that’s ok, we can talk about the difference when you have a child of your own.
I love you so much my heart explodes thinking about how amazing you are.
To the moon, till forever, you are always my little bug.