9 Years Old.

Grace --

I woke up this morning remembering the first time I saw your little face and felt your little body cuddled up next to me.  You were so tiny and so perfect.

Now, you are tall and skinny and cuddling "is for babies" (even though sometimes you indulges me and let me cuddle you for longer than 15 seconds!).  Now you are 9 years old.

9 feels like a big milestone.  You aren't a "little kid" anymore.  You aren't quite a preteen.  Its a strange age where the questions you ask are harder to answer, you are having to face how unfair the world is sometimes, and you are learning more about yourself and how to take care of you, without Mom and Dad hovering over everything.  You are learning what you like and what you don't like -- you love music; not such a big fan of chores!  DC sports teams are a passion of yours --- but I know better than to ask you about NY teams or PA teams!

Sometimes I love it -- seeing you grow up and take charge.  Sometimes it makes me sad that you don't need me the same way anymore.

This year, we started telling you more about Marfan Syndrome -- which, to be honest, isn't the easiest thing for a 9 year old to process or to understand.   But I am proud of how you ask questions and even proud that you are comfortable enough to get angry about it when that's how you feel.  And boy do I laugh when you show off how you flexible your joints are and how inflexible mine are!  It's like you and Daddy have a secret handshake that no one else in our family gets to do.  It makes me sad sometimes thinking of all the things you may face in life --- but I look around at the Marfriends/Marfamily we are connecting with and I know you will be a-okay!

 I absolutely love how much you love your little brother....and already love your sibling-to-be coming in the fall.  The way you take care of Will like a little mommy is so great --- his whole face lights up when you walk into the room.  Some nights, when you insist on putting him to bed, I watch you in the monitor -- reading a book to him, rocking in the chair to music, and giving him a pep talk about going to sleep.  Those are the moments that make all the crazy moments worth it.  I love that when I tuck you in at night, you kiss my growing belly and say good night to the new baby.

Most of all, I am so proud of you. So proud of the sensitive and empathetic friend you are.  Proud of the kid who struggles at some things but works hard to do well at school.   Proud that you are so curious about the world --- always asking questions and wanting to know more about everything.  I am proud that you have found such a good group of friends and that your family is so important to you.

Happy birthday my sweet girl.  I love you super much.  You are the baby that made me a mommy and you are forever my special girl.


Eileen Sullivan said...

Such a gorgeous letter Jaime. We didn't have all these high tech sites when my baby turned 9, but I used to write in a book. Grace is such a great young girl with an inspiring outlook on life. I wish we lived closer so I could spend more time with her, but will grab those times when we are together. In her card I promised her a day out with Aunt Eileen and Cassie for her birthday (movie, lunch, shopping, nails...) Happy birthday to Grace and her mom and dad and Will and family.

Maya said...

Happy birthday, Grace! M is looking forward to seeing you this summer! Also, that is a super cute dress. :-)