Dear Sugarbean on your 10th birthday

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

My darling daughter,

Do you know what a joy it is to be your mother? When my alarm goes off in the morning, I have one that sounds 5 minutes before you awake. This is to ensure that I am at a point in my morning routine to stop, walk down the hallway and wake you with a hug. Who doesn't want to start their day with a hug. It took me a bit to realize this is something that you likely needed, but more than you, it was something I needed to.

This year, you have achieved milestones. In the course of your short volleyball career, you've managed to find your serve. You are an excellent leader, you have fun, and best of all, you are an excellent teammate. You celebrate with your friends when they excel and you encourage them when they aren't their best. You are a heavy critic with yourself and while it breaks my heart a bit to see you get so down, I am appreciative of your internal voice pushing you to be better.

We had an extended family vacation filled with plenty of outdoor activities. It was my hope that you would fall in love with the Pacific like I did so many years ago. My heart leapt each time I saw you dancing with the waves on the shore. You took to each water sport as if it were second nature, not surprising, but I remained in awe. You wanted me to join you, saying, "C'mon, Mommy! It is easy, watch." Surfing and paddle boarding in the ocean are definitely not easy, but I liked that you felt that I could do it just as easily as you. One of my favorite moments was when we held hands while we snorkeled. Together, we watched life below the surface. I never felt more like a mermaid than in that moment, and it was definitely a happy feeling.

This year, you also had your first job! Because of a friends keen eye and consideration, you hired as a model for a local renowned sculptor. You posed for her and witnessing the process---an artist creating a likeness of you---was poignant and meaningful. Soon, your 9 year old likeness will be in a public space for many to enjoy. I can't wait to see it and be able to visit it when you are older!

You also encountered other milestones, ones that I hoped you wouldn't have to face again for a long time. With grace, you dealt with unwanted attention from classmates, and were empowered by using your voice to speak up and say, "No, this isn't right." I'm grateful for your school for working with you, to listen to you, and allow you to use your voice rather than dismiss you! You managed to work through it with very little intervention from your parents. In that moment, you needed us a little bit less, which was bittersweet. You are unwavering in your character, knowing at this young age what feels comfortable and stating clearly, when things are not.

You are coming into your own! You are inquisitive, creative, intuitive, passionate, inspiring, stubborn, fearless, loyal, considerate, definitely an authentic individual! We've made it these first ten years. I continue to be unapologetically emotional, showing you that it is more than ok to be vulnerable. I remain your biggest advocate.  I am humbled to be your mother. I'm filled with pride when you accomplish the goals you've set for yourself. Most of all, I'm just so thankful to share this life with you. Thank you for making me a mommy.

 Happy 10th, Bug!

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