Before I even start writing this one, I have to tell you guys that I meant to get it done before school actually started....I did. I just didn't end up that way.
But hey, that means that I already have a current first day of school picture that includes all of you to put here, so there's that.
Since you always reap the benefits of being the oldest kid, Oldest, I'm going in reverse order this time. So, hang on a sec.
I really need to come up with another nickname for you. Little Asskicker made sense when I was pregnant and even when you were a little baby, but you're going to be two here in a few weeks and it's generally frowned upon to have a swear word as a nickname for a toddler.
So....let me think about that one for a minute.
Anyway, you're hell on wheels if ever there was such a thing. You've figured out how to actually run, as opposed to what you used to do when you were smaller. You used to swing your arms super fast and pant and make all kinds of movement, believing that you were running fast, when really you weren't going anywhere faster than you would if you were walking.
Truthfully, it was pretty adorable. That...and I didn't have to chase you too much back then. Now, the chase is on. All day every day. You're the first kid that we've actually had to remove chairs for. All the kitchen chairs reside on the other side of the baby gates unless someone is actively sitting in them. You figured out a long time ago that you could get on the counter much easier if you pushed them around the kitchen. You scare me a little.
You aren't going to school this year, obviously, but I'm going to do my best to teach you all kinds of stuff here at home. Letters, numbers, songs, colors. You already sing almost constantly and have been working on making a two with your fingers for a while now. You're ready for that birthday picture.
Don't grow up too fast. You're the last one. Enjoy that.
As I write this, you're emptying the dishwasher and watching Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes on Netflix. You're here, at home. Again.
I'm not sure how long you're going to be doing most of your learning at home, but for now it works. You've made so much progress in the last year that there are times I forget just how much we had to work to get here.
The fact that you could do most of it in pajamas was just a bonus, I suppose.
Keep working hard, keep doing your best. It shows when you try. I know that so much of this is hard for you, that it doesn't come easily. You've got to fight for all those little pieces of progress sometimes, but keep fighting.
Also, do jazz hands at every possible opportunity.
I can't wait to see how much you will learn this year and I'm so excited to start attending the programs at the Botanic Gardens with you. ALL THE FIELD TRIPS. All of them.
You also need a new nickname. We should work on that. Your feet are almost as big as mine, so that "little" part won't last much longer.
Oh, child. You've been such a ball of nerves these past few weeks. I know that it's been making you worry, all these changes. Middle school, new teachers, new friends, new experiences. I know that you don't anticipate change well, even if I've had to remind myself of that more than a few times in the last couple of days.
Maybe it is a good thing I didn't get this written last week and didn't actually get around to it until you were at school for the second day. Maybe.
Now I can tell you with absolute certainty that you're going to be okay, because you already are. The tiny little skeptic in you is always doubting my words, and this would be no different, but since we're already over here on this side, maybe you'll hear me.
You're going to be okay.
You aren't just going to be okay. You're going to be awesome.
This year is going to be a big one filled with many challenges.
You can do it.
I have to be honest with you...remember when you said that you wanted to do the triathlon this summer? I want to say you mentioned it for the first time in March or so. You just blurted it out one day, and your Dad and I looked at each other a little shocked. Where did this come from? Was she going to be able to do it? Would she stick to the training schedule? Would she finish? I think we were as nervous as you were.
You did it. You did all of it. And almost all of it, you did on your own.
We were just there cheering you on from the sidelines.
You can do anything you set your mind to. Don't ever forget that.
Are you my best friend?
I miss you.
Those are two things that come out of your mouth countless times a day, and while I know that you're almost always totally kidding, I also know that it's your unique way of connecting with me.
Now that school is in session again, I fully expect that the emails will start arriving soon. (at least I hope so)
You've grown up so much this year. It's startling, actually. You look entirely different, like some little girl was in your body last year and this young woman is there now. Maybe like a chicken wearing a human suit, or is it the other way around? (for those of you reading at home, I know this doesn't make sense. Inside joke.)
You've spent so much time lately working to help others. Between volunteering at the humane society and band and helping your siblings and father with whatever needs done, you've matured in a way that I wasn't really prepared to see.
It's been amazing to watch.
Stay weird, keep pushing yourself in school, join all the science and math nerd groups and dammit, girl, if you want to join drumline, DO IT.
Do it do it do it do it. Or I'll sing. Don't make me sing.
How did this happen? I know I keep saying that, and I'm sure that by now you are exceptionally tired of me asking questions that probably don't make much sense to you...but deal with it.
I'm not stopping any time soon.
How did you get to be a sophomore? How?
I just put you on the bus for kindergarten yesterday. And now you're taller than your Dad and learning to drive. What the???
You're almost done with your Eagle Scout Badge, which is crazy. Only one merit badge left and that project. I know you're proud of yourself, and we are proud too, but we also know that you're highly motivated by the electronic promise at the end of it all. HIGHLY MOTIVATED.
Your Dad is insanely proud of you. I know it doesn't seem that way, with the incessant teasing and all, but he is.
You already know what you want to be when you grow up, which is weird because I don't even know what I want to be when I grow up. You have everything all planned out, too. My advice, the thing I feel like I'm always saying to you...make good choices. And be flexible.
Life isn't always going to work out the way you hope or plan. Don't let that mess things up for you. Adjust and adapt, get up and dust yourself off when you have to.
And always know, that no matter how old you are, if you need me, I'll be there. Waving my arms frantically from the audience.
Have a great year, you guys. I love you.
p.s. math homework is still the worst
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