One more birthday letter for the year…
First up, my favourite Guest Poster: the Dad.
As you’ve been telling me for weeks, you’re 8! Today it’s finally true! And, since you’ve been telling me “Happy Birthday Daddy!” several times a day for the past year, today I’m thrilled to be able to say, “Happy Birthday B!”
It’s been another year of adventure for us with you, as we wait with expectation for your next surprise that will have us laughing loud and long. Often it involves layer upon layer of dress-up clothes. Lately it’s involved you shouting, “Blow me down, guys!” and when we do, you teeter and squeal and eventually fall down backwards. Of course, once you got one laugh, we were destined to play this game about 800 times. That’s okay though; it’s still just as funny as the first time.
This was the year your world got rocked. After almost 8 years as the unchallenged ‘baby’ of the family, there’s suddenly a new baby on the block – one who’s not afraid to stake his claim to everyone and everything in our house!
There was no way to fully prepare you for what was coming when we decided to add S to our family. As much as we talked about him and explained that a new brother was coming to live with you, we couldn’t really help you understand what was about to go down.
We worried about how you were going to react to this new little person competing for our time and attention – not to mention your toys! And, truth be told, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. You gave us a good run for our money for a little while there, finding ways to get our focus back on you, for better or worse.
But through it all, I was amazed at how you loved S. If you were upset about all the changes, you didn’t take it out on him. You’re not known for your patience, but I think you’ve been extraordinarily patient as you and your brother have adjusted to each other. You’ve shared – often willingly – and you’ve been a wonderful, loving big sister.
You’ve also grown up in ways that I didn’t foresee. Maybe Mommy and I being busier than normal has caused you to try things for yourself instead of waiting for us to help. I’m not sure, but I know that you have seemed much older and more independent these past few months. You’re talking in much longer sentences – it’s wonderful to be able to have real conversations with you!
Amidst all the changes, I hope you know that some things haven’t changed. My love for you hasn’t changed. My promise to be here whenever you need me hasn’t changed. The fact that I am so proud of you hasn’t changed. And your ability to make me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed before hasn’t changed either. Thank you for bringing so much joy into my life. Happy birthday!!!
Today you are 8-years-old.
For most people, 8 is when the cute starts to wear off. Not you. You remain as cute and sweet a little girl as ever. Except when you are cute and ornery. Even then, we’ll keep you.
This has been a big year for you. A lot of change and a lot of growing up have made for a bumpy ride at times, but we’re getting used to the drama. Our life is never boring, and usually, we have you to thank for that.
You are a born comic. There is not much you won’t do for a laugh. You’ll yell “Blow me down, guys!” until we’ve stopped what we are doing to puff in your direction, at which point you flail your arms, make worried “aaah, aaah, aaah” noises before collapsing in a heap on the ground. Your gales of laughter afterwards are contagious. Each night before dinner you lead us in the song “Open/Shut them” (presumably to ensure that our hands are properly folded for prayer time), then thank God for the food and for the cats who are partying. You’ve decided that your horse at therapeutic riding is named “Toot”; which is the word for ‘fart’ in our house and consequently, super-funny (he’s actually named “Dot,” but you will not be convinced otherwise).
You’ve always had a lot to say. From the beginning you taught me that everybody has stories to tell, whether they can express it or not. But this is the year we’ve begun to understand so much more of your stories. It is such a gift to hear your thoughts and ideas and strange pretends. You love to jump on the trampoline, then when “BubbleMan” comes, we are all required to lay down. Okay, so I still don’t understand a lot of what goes on in your world.
You are a true believer. When you are pretending, you do it with your whole heart and assume that it is just as real to the rest of us. Whether you are barking as a dog and eating your snack off the floor, or wearing 6 fluffy skirts, a neck tie, large floppy hat and mismatched shoes all afternoon (the costume of choice for a discerning “pwetty pwin-cess” we’re told), or even answering to a nickname (sweetheart, honey, silly goose…) – you will very seriously demand my attention, throw your hands out and trill “It’s me! B!”
The biggest change this year has brought is your sudden acquisition of a baby brother. Since he is not actually a baby, but the ripe old age of 2, you have actually acquired a partner in crime. Most of the time he is your little shadow, dogging your every step, getting into your stuff, and trying to hug you with his entire body. You have been mostly patient, if not a bit alarmed by his desire to wrestle. He’s a pretty good sport too, because you’re sister-ing style is somewhat tyrannical.
We call you the “Dastardly Duo,” and you have brought mischief to an unheard of level in our home. Just last week I noticed the bathroom door was closed with both of you in it (never a good sign). Worried that you had once again blockaded yourselves in the room (took 1/2 an hour to extricate you last time), I rushed in. Just in time. To see the sink overflowing onto the ground while you happily splashed one another. As I bundled up the sopping towels, having turned my back for no more than 2 minutes, I heard a piercing shriek. You had both climbed into the tub, fully clothed and turned the cold shower on. I was just relieved that nothing found its way into the toilet that day.
I’ve probably written more in my blog about your funny little quirks and extreme stubbornness, ahem… determination, than just about any subject. It can be a challenge, but you are certainly worth every long day, tearful break and prolonged battle of the wills. Because at the end of the day, you are a kind, gentle, funny, strong person. And the world is a better place because you are in it. And I am a better person because you are my girl.
I love you!
Happy Birthday 8-year-old!