Well, Kiddo, you made it to double digits! 10! Honey, that is so old and you are so big. I am amazed at how much you have changed in this past year and how much you have stayed the same. Everyone I know keeps telling me to watch out for the pre-teen and teen years and maybe I'll eat my words someday but you are just a total joy to be with and I can't see that changing anytime soon.
I know you have your moments when you want what you want and try to get what you want at all costs … but last I checked, we all had those moments and honestly your moments are relatively easy to deal with. Sure, I can see glimpses here and there of the teenager you are becoming. At times this past year I could feel my face making expressions of confusion and wonder that I assumed only my parents made. I can recall a few times this past year when, after a certain "moment" or two of yours, your father and I looked at each other with the same blank stare we would have if a kangaroo hopped into the room, sat down and started smoking a pipe. Sort of like "hm … well, this is an interesting turn of events … any ideas how to deal with this one?"
More often than not, you are able to walk through it with you. I've always liked that about you – you are able to communicate with me or your daddy or your mom or Tommy just exactly what's going on with you. I really enjoy the conversations we have and I'm always impressed by how well you are able to think through things. Not many adults can do that.
You are teaching me so much. So much about life, about patience, about people and about myself. Because of you, I can see how truly selfish I can be and because of you, I've experienced the joy of parenting. For years, I've gotten a thrill when I've seen other people succeed. I've rejoiced when people have achieved something great. But I never knew how great that "seeing others succeed" feeling could be until this past year when I sat between your daddy and your mom, holding your new baby sister watching you perform in your first school play. You'd been working on your 2 lines for months and I have to tell you, all prejudice aside, those were by far the best 2 lines of the whole play! You make a terrific "mean bug" and I finally understand why my mom made me sing and dance in front of relatives (much to my embarrassment) all those years ago when I was your age. Because the utter and complete joy that overcame me when I watched you sing and dance on stage was as addictive as chocolate. Or crack. Or chocolate crack. Don't ask me what that is. I just want to have that feeling again and again.
This has been a big year for you, sugar. This past year you became a big sister. And you blew me away with how good you are at it. You are so patient and loving with your baby sister. I love how you let me know anytime Maddy does something special. I love how you send pictures of Maddy to all of us on our phones. I love how delighted you get when Maddy laughs. And hearing you both laugh is like the best sound in the world. Maddy is such a lucky little girl to have you for a sister. Keep that in mind as she starts to grow and get into your stuff. I may defend her a few times because I was the little sister in our family and I know how it is to be the little sister. If you want a listening ear, you may want to call your Aunt Beek. She knows how awful it can be with a little sister keeps messing with your things. I don't know if she'll have any advice for you other than you may just want to get used to it. After all, last time I saw your Aunt Beek, I stole her comb.
And you are so dang funny. I delight daily in your humor. And I'm so grateful you've developed such a tasty sense of humor. I have to tell you, Sugar, it's come a long way. A long long way from all those years ago when you used to tell knock-knock jokes over and over and I would have to force myself to laugh. Not only because they weren't funny … but because they weren't even jokes.
You: Knock Knock
Me: Who's there?
Me: Table who?
You: Table in the corner!!!!!!! HA HA HA HA
Me: Uh .. <cue forced laughter> good one.
But you've more than made up for it lately. You are funny and so quick witted and somehow you are able to do all of that without being sarcastic. Now that, my dear, is a real talent. One your step mom hasn't really figured out yet. But I'm learning … I'm learning from you.
This past year I was talking with someone who asked me if I had any children. I told her about you, my darling step-daughter. She immediately cried, "You're a bonus mom?!" and I fell in love with that term. A bonus mom. The dictionary defines "bonus" as "something extra that is good." That's exactly how I feel. It's a bonus to know you. A bonus to help parent you. It's a bonus – big time- to get to be a part of your life and have input and observe the way you are going and growing. My life before you was pretty great and with you … it's all bonus. All something extra that is good.
I can see more than ever the woman you are becoming. And that woman is so beautiful, inside and out. I can't wait for this next year, Snoopy. I can't wait to know you better and better. Can't wait for the next phase of my bonus. You are doing such a good job with your life.
Happy Birthday 10 Year Old Girl.
Love and love,