Thursday, April 18, 2019

To The One Who Proved She Could Do It, Over and Over and Over

It's entirely unsurprising that the second I sat down to write this, I got text messages from you. You are constantly sending me emails and texts about all the things all the time.

Then there is the leaning and the lap sitting and the neeeeeeeeeeding.


You are not a low maintenance child, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I wouldn't have you any other way.

"Can we get something to eat?"

It has been such an intense crazy busy year for you, and you just keep signing yourself up for more and more stuff. More commitments, more responsibility, more opportunities, more. MORE.

I have had the conversation with you only about a million times this year about how you need to make sure that you don't over-commit yourself, that you have time for just you. And you say you know...just like I say I know. I KNOW.

And then you sign up for something else.

"I'm not jumping, Mom. Gosh."
You played on the travel team for volleyball, missing the middle of the season with a strained Achilles, but came back at the end for the tournament (we won't talk about what happened during it...), then shagged balls at state. All the sports.

It seems like you just turned 13. I don't even know how we already got to 14. I don't. Time doesn't make sense anymore and I have given up trying to understand it.

Just after you turned 13 last year, you were running track. Now you're one of the team managers. This time last year, you were training for the triathlon. You keep telling me you aren't going to do it this year, but I'm not sure that I believe you honestly. You know you can make the distances, and you know that your brother will do it with you if you harass him enough.

You were the HBIC for Comic Con, and made your brother (made, ha. he wanted to) dress up as Archie. You've watched every episode of Riverdale at least 4 times I think and when Luke Perry died last month, it devastated you. Me too. Oof.

You practically begged me to let you help shoot the wedding I took on over the summer, and you did a great job. It was awesome having you there as another set of eyes, and I think it made you fall a little bit more in love with photography.

When I decided to drive to Kansas at 3am for a wedding, you were the first one to hop in the car. You're generally the first one to volunteer for anything like that. Still. I keep waiting for you to outgrow wanting to be so present all the time, but you haven't shown any sign of it yet.

You're always the person there in the stands, cheering for your siblings. You show up for people, whether they realize it or recognize it. You show up. That means a lot, trust me. It will matter more and more the older you get.

You're been cooking and baking more and more, are hoping to start the culinary program in the fall...but only as long as it doesn't interfere with marching band. Because you want to play this...

Yep, that is a big giant sousaphone. You played it in the Halloween parade. As much as I thought that experience might scare you away from continuing to play this instrument...nope. You love it even more now.

Unless you decide to try out to march drumline, though...


I blame your brother.

Speaking of music, you have played with the orchestra several times. You've played with the Denver Brass at Brass Fest. You played at Tuba Christmas. And then there is the matter of drumline.

Oh, drumline.

You have been waiting years for this, knowing that when your brother was a senior, you'd be eligible to join as an 8th grader. You knew it was going to be hard and time consuming...on some level. I don't think you really realized how hard or time consuming it would truly be. But you did it. You stuck it out. You got moved around on instruments several times. The show evolves constantly throughout the season, and your natural proclivity to resist change was tested. You had to learn how to go with the flow. And that mistakes really and truly are opportunities to learn. Bob Ross was right.

You had to get up early and stay up late to finish homework. You had to forgo things with your friends, you had to skip basketball season altogether. You had to power through illness including crazy high fevers during state. You dealt with all of it, you did it. And I am so proud of you. SO PROUD.

And I know that you and your brother have a much stronger bond for having done this together. I think you understand each other a little bit better now.

And, seriously. You played the freaking cowbell for the first time in a show in front of the entire high school. That is badass.

Bad. Ass.

I cannot imagine being brave enough to do anything in front of an entire high school when I was your age.

You've worked hours and hours for NJHS, put together a project for it, volunteered at the Humane Society. You've babysat, offered to make random cakes for just about anyone for just about any reason. You've put together care packages for friends. You worked pride and other events with me. You baked cupcakes and brownies for the drumline so many times that I think they are just starting to expect you to keep bringing something. You helped take over the GSA your big sister started at the middle school this year, and have watched as it has grown bigger and bigger at every meeting. You are handing it off to a larger group of students than we could have ever imagined.

And you know who did that??? You and your sister.

GSAs are proven to make schools safer for all kids. And you and your sister are doing that.

You'll be finished with middle school here in a few weeks, moving on to high school. You bought yourself a sweatshirt months ago you were so ready to be there. Always in a hurry, you are.

You'll be starting high school with a bunch of friends in every grade since you've already been doing drumline, which is a huge help...not that you've ever needed help finding your people. We've already got the fall sports parent meeting on the schedule, and I don't know how you're going to manage it all...but I know you will. You prove that you can, over and over and over.

Your Dad and I are so proud of you, of who you are becoming, of who you've always been. Keep being spicy. Keep being 87 years old. Keep wearing your slippers and carrying your blanket everywhere. Keep showing up for your people. Keep doing that laughing thing where you don't make any noise, just make that super uncomfortable face until a snort sneaks out. Keep doing that.

Keep loving everyone and everything as much as you do. I know it is overwhelming to feel so much all the time, but know that even if it hurts more sometimes, it also makes you amazing. Your big giant heart is a superpower. Never ever forget that. And don't let the world change you. You're perfect just the way you are.

I love you, baby girl. Happy Birthday.

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