Saturday, September 22, 2007

I can't believe it's been nine years

Dear Graceful,

Happy 9th birthday! This is it, your last year in the single digits.

This past year you have changed so much and there's no way anyone could ever accuse you of being a little girl. You are most definitely a tween and well on your way to becoming a teenager. You are becoming more independent and less in need of me. It won't be long before I'm no longer "Mommy" and become "Mom." But I'll let you decide when you're ready for that, because I'm not.

Even though you're only nine, you've spent part of the past year preparing for your teenage years. The eye rolling. The occasional disrespect. The huffiness. This is all just a prelude to what I'm bracing myself for.

But you are still so very sweet and adorable and you still say the things that have the ability to make me tear up. Last week you told me that when you grow up, you want to be a mommy just like me, so I could I please teach you how to cook and sew and do all the things that I do? I have stored those words very carefully in my heart, as ammunition against those times when you don't like me and you don't want to be near me and you want to have nothing to do with me.

You'll probably be an adult and a mother of your own before you understand just how much Daddy and I love you and how much we looked forward to having you join us. We had been married for seven years before you graced us (ha!) with your presence. There was a time when we worried that we'd never be parents, but luckily you came along and solved that for us.

Your arrival in the world meant that you were the first grandchild in my family. There was so much joy and excitement, it was as if no baby had ever been born in the history of mankind. Everyone doted on you.

Jen and Graceful - 11/98

We had so much fun with you, even if we didn't get a lot of sleep that first year. We thought you were so absolutely perfect, that we wondered if any other baby could ever measure up.

Pete and Graceful - 4/99

You were such a wonderful toddler and we had so much fun exploring the great big world together. And sometimes, we'd just sit quietly and watch the world.

Spring 2000

Your personality has always been so sunny, which is why we loved it when yellow was your favorite color for three solid years. Do you know how hard it is to find yellow shoes?

Winter 2003

I love the way you love books. So often, I'll come into a room and find you deeply immersed in a good read and completely oblivious to all that's going on around you.

December 2006

I love the way you know so much and yet you want to know more. You are good at so many things, yet you want to be better.

I love the way you love animals and nurture babies and small children.

Summer 2007

With Micah, March 2007

This has been a big year for you: new glasses, new cousins, a tonsillectomy. You tried new activities and started a new sport.

March 2007

July 2007

I feel quite privileged to be the mother of such an amazing girl.

May 2007

Happy birthday Grace Elizabeth! I love you very much.

Love, Mommy

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