In honor of eleven years of motherhood, today I am taking the day off. You and your brothers spent last night at your grandparents house. I could be doing anything at all this morning but here I sit thinking about my baby girl. Funny what parenthood does to you.
Eleven years ago I was busy staring at your chubby pink face, running my fingers through your thick shock of black hair. You slept twenty-three hours a day. You slept so much that your dad used to have to tickle you awake just so you would get enough milk. On the night we brought you home from the hospital, you slept for six straight hours without a peep. You were cuddly and warm and happy and perfect.
There are a lot of parents who are afraid of those first few months. Who dread repeating them with a second child. You made it easy. You eased us into parenthood and I remember the first year of your life being filled with wonder and joy. But then, I am a person at ease with babies. It's the big kids that can fill me with anxiety.
Fast forward eleven years and you are still lovely and happy and perfect. Not nearly as sleepy though. You are quiet when you're not feeling silly. You are mostly sweet with a dash of sarcasm and a wicked ability to deploy the most biting of backhanded compliments. You are trustworthy, kind, and compassionate. You have all the building blocks of a really remarkable human.
The thing that terrifies me about big kids is that I am no longer in control. I can't provide everything anymore. Life just keeps growing bigger as you do. I have a vision for you, and I can still steer you toward it, but I no longer hold the reigns by myself.
This year my goal for you is to reach outside of yourself. I want to see you stretch. Not just for yourself, but for the greater world. I want to see you work to help some cause that makes you sad, or angry, or passionate. Whether it's something big, like saving the polar bears, or something little like standing up for your beliefs even when they're not popular. You have the most beautiful wings and they are ready to stretch out and take a flight.
Lua, when I look at you I see the future of all of us. These next few years will see a lot of change and growth in you, and I can't believe I'm lucky enough to bear witness to it, even if I do have to let go of the reigns a little bit more each year. My sweet, brave girl - I know I am leaving them in good hands.
Love you forever.