You are Nine. It seems incredible. How can so much time have gone by so quickly? If I think about it (and simultaneously wince at the thought), you’re halfway to 18 now. You’re growing up, growing beyond me.
I’ve never met someone as perceptive as you. Well, until now, obviously. I’ve watched you, in so many situations, and you know what to do. Whenever you might feel a little out of sorts, or a little wobbly, you know exactly what to do.
You are a bright light in the spaces of life where I never was. I worried about that, especially as you began school. I so desperately want you to have the opposite experience of school that I did and, yet, you’re showing me nowadays that I have very little say in how this rolls out in your life. It is, after all, your life.
Over this last year of your life, you have confronted things. I will admit that this has been an emotional sting of a year for me, because I deeply want to pick you up, wrap you in bubble wrap and run away to live in the forest with the pixies and squirrels. I want to keep you safe from the world but, to do so entirely would mean you a deep disservice.
So I have to let go, in tiny little increments. And I’ve had to support you, rather than save you from some of life’s greatest lessons.
This year, you felt disappointment. I would never be so bold to think that I’ve prevented you from feeling this for your entire life so far. No, in fact, I know I’ve disappointed you before, and it will always stick in my throat. I think every parent feels that, at some point. But, no, these disappointments have been bigger life ones. Nothing that harms you but, they have definitely been lessons. I have had to hold your hand as you learnt that life brings disappointment, and the reasons why.
You have taken those lessons and they have made you feel a sense of independence. You have realised, using that fantastic brain of yours, that the lessons are worth the five minutes of pain you feel when you’ve been let down, and that – almost always – something better is just around the corner. You have learnt to be hopeful in the face of things that would turn most people into glum globules.
And, you have showed me your determined spirit. No, not just me. You’ve shown the whole world.
Born to the parents you were, you’ve always been destined to spend a large part of your life with your head in the clouds. We are dreamers, although your Dad is far more practical than I. He deals better in reality than I do, but I’m learning.
Being a daydreamer, you have lofty ideals for your life. You have ideas and creations you can’t wait to bring to life. You have moments where you cannot contain your excitement to create, and you have times when you just want to be alone to make something. You are always trying something new, or taking an interest in something you did not know about yesterday.
But, somewhere, in the same land where your daydreamer self resides, lives your fiery determination. When you are determined to do something, you do it. You have no fear and you give it your all.
Even when you are turned away from it, one, two, three times over, it does not deter you at all. You continue on, and try again. Your determination, usually, gets you right where you want to be. You are a firework, that – even when it rains – just waits for the next time the skies are clear again. It is no surprise to me, that that is your favourite song.
The baby cutisms are all but gone from you, as you grow taller each time I blink my eyes and you savour the intricacies of a world that’s opening up to you. You explore it on your own terms and actively choose which parts of yourself you will share with the world. You cannot be forced, or cajoled or bribed when it comes to that.
But, by the that same token, you are not afraid to dance. You are not afraid to jump. You are not afraid to be gleeful when it’s raining and you are not afraid to stay indoors on a sunny day with a good book. You know, like a wise soul, that the sun rises and sets, and that the moon watches over us all at night. You are not afraid of a new day. You are not moved by fear. You are simply determined to be happy. You are excited to feel the wind in your air and the ground under your feet. The very same feet that now wear the same sized shoe as I do.
You have grown, my darling child. You have grown into my team mate, rather than someone I must keep. I am less your guardian every day and more often your partner. But I am always, always your mother.
Happy Birthday my sweet child. You are the sweet song of my days and the lullaby of my nights. You are the sun of the morning and the stars of twilight. You are the everything.
Thank you for choosing me to be your mama.