I cannot believe that you are ten.
I know that parents say that so often that to be honest, when I see it on social media, I just kind of roll my eyes and blur over it all because we all keep saying it.
Grandma Peg told me that my time with you would be over before I know it and she sure was right. Like sand, I feel like I am watching time slip through my fingers faster than I can do anything about it.
In only 8 years you will be leaving the nest. For bigger and brighter things. To live out your hopes and dreams, to spread your wings and fly.
8 years probably seems like a lifetime to you and a microwave warm up to me. We've got all kinds of development between then and now to go through. Things to love and things to hate.
With that in mind I thought I would send you this letter and let you know all of the many, many things going on in my head.
-I first and foremost want to say thank you. On behalf of your autistic brother and your Daddy and I, we thank you for being the kind of sibling and daughter that anyone would be proud to have. You take on the role of sibling to a special-needs child with such grace and dignity. I have no idea how we would have gotten through everything without you. You always seem to know when to cut your brother some slack and when he needs to be reeled back in. You always tolerate, always teach, always protect, and always, always love in ways that blow us away. We know it stinks sometimes when your things get broken, your feelings get hurt, your turn isn't realized. We want you to know that we are trying to be fair. In reality, it isn't always going to be. But we love you even more for understanding that and being okay with it. That's where we need God's grace and you get that too.
-In the coming years we are going to have to expose you to some hard topics. You think weed means a dandelion. You have no idea what sex is. You think "butt" is a cuss word. You think the signs "don't drink and drive" mean not to drink Pepsi while driving home from Taco Bell. Your naivety is what we have craved for you to have in this world. But Daddy and I figure it's probably best to expose you to these things eventually rather that drop you off at the doorstep of William and Mary to just let you figure it all out. So we're going to have to have some worldly talks. Some exposure. It makes me want to throw up thinking of explaining sex, drugs, and rock and roll to you, but we will. Because we love you and we want what's best for you.
-We want you to know that to the ends of the earth we will love you. No matter what weird experimentation you go through. No matter who you find out you are. We will love you to the ends of the earth and back. You will always be our favorite and our best.
-We know you want to be a vet but here's the thing. Nothing in this world comes easily. Nothing. Please be prepared to work your tail off for what you want. Don't let anyone get in your way or try to discourage you. You will fall. You will fail. You will want to quit. Don't. Don't ever quit. Pull that competitiveness out of you and use it to get what you want. We promise it will all be worth it.
-Please don't try to grow up to quickly. Stop it. Knock it off. It's all a lie. All of it. We know you want your own cell phone and you think it's cool to have an ipad and headphones and dance around. But please don't put the American Girls away just yet. Don't forget how fun it is to spin in a pretty dress. Don't let the world make you someone you aren't. Remember, you can be as young as you feel, not as old as you are real.
-Above all please remember to just follow God's will. Like I've always told you, my life is so much better than I ever could have imagined it to be. All because I did what God wanted me to do. I followed Him. I promise, do what He wants; Seek him. Be in love with Him. And life will beat your best dreams on a good night. Cross my heart, kiss my elbow.
-Remember how you love our home? How you call it a peaceful mansion? How you say it's your favorite place in the world? Well, it's not going anywhere. It will always be here with open arms. So you can drag your drunk, goth-clad self home from college if you need and we'll be here with a strong cup of coffee and open arms. Because we are family. And family sticks together.
I hope you have the best tenth birthday ever. I hope you dance and twirl and giggle and whirl. We're going to party, as you always misquote and say, like it's 1799. Sure, we'll get our petticoats swinging around.