Thursday, September 24, 2015

Happy 10th Birthday to my not-so-little Girl

Dear Julie,

Today you are 10.

I'm not sure how to write your birthday note this year without starting with an apology.

So here it goes.

I'm sorry I ever doubted you.

Because I did.

Once upon a time you were a strong-willed toddler and then you were a stubborn preschooler and finally my emotional and moody grade-schooler.

I wondered about you. Why were you sometimes so difficult?  Would you be ok? Was I doing something wrong?
You were my first, and I wanted you to be happy and healthy and well-adjusted and polite and perfect. I wanted you to fit my little mold. And when you didn't, I assumed something wasn't right.

While I was busy worrying how to fix you--- you were busy growing and maturing into this absolutely amazing 10 year-old. 

Somehow, without me realizing, you have become your own person. You could care less if that pleases anyone else but you have become exactly who you want to be.

And let me tell you. That person is absolutely beautiful.

You're fierce and fearless and reach for things that seem out-of-reach. You're a sweet and loving mini mommy to your baby sister. I see pure love when you make Josie giggle or sing her a silly little song. 

You claim your little brother annoys you, but I see the way you look out for him, and how you so want to be his teacher. 

I notice your love for God when you scour the Bible for your favorite verse, or ask us questions about life and tell us how you want to help people.

Even though you've grown so much, you're still my little girl with big dreams--the one who thinks pretty much anything is possible.

You're a chef, a scientist, a warrior, a caregiver, a writer and someone I feel so blessed to know. I'm sorry for ever doubting you--for ever thinking for a second that you would grow to be someone that's anything other than truly fantastic. 

You are such an incredible person and I feel lucky to be your mom for a decade! 

Happy birthday to my one-of-a-kind 10 year old.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

In the Middle

He was my buddy. My baby. Every morning, since he started sleeping in a big boy bed at 2, he crept into our room, snuggled under the covers and told me he loved me. He wrote me love letters and drew me pictures. He held my hand and let me hug and kiss him whenever and wherever I wanted.

He was my happy, silly, easygoing little guy.

But, something's happened. Something's different.
Over the past six months or so my little boy isn't so happy anymore and he isn't so easygoing. He's more likely to wear a pout  than a smile. There's the not listening, not sharing and misbehaving and even telling a lie. And then there's the meltdowns and tears...lots and lots of tears over just about everything. His sister calls him a crybaby and yesterday his best friend said "I never knew a 6 year old to cry so much."

I just want to pick him up, hug him and say "Just tell me why you're so sad."

The thing is I don't think he knows.

Of course it's probably because he's not the baby anymore. He's stuck in the middle and not sure what to do. As frustrating as it is for us as parents, I feel bad for him. While Julie embraced her little sister with open arms, and became a mother figure. Johnny wasn't sure where he fit in. He's stuck in the middle between Julie--the all star student and karate champ and Josie--his adorable, can-do-know-wrong baby sister. He doesn't quite have a "thing"yet, though we know one day he'll shine.

I feel so sad that we're going through this rough patch with the kid we was always so happy and kind and easy. But we will help him find his way. We love him, stuck in the middle and all.