My sweet girl,
Today you turned eight. Eight years of you. Eight years of motherhood for me. Eight years of tucking you in and watching you grow and feeding you nutella waffles and figuring out who you are in there. This year I have failed more times than I can count. I've lost my cool and cried and yelled and you've learned to use all the cuss words... correctly. I am a little proud of the swearing part but lots of the rest of it makes deeply grateful for the grace and resilience you embody. Raising you is the most holy experience I have been given and the way it's looking... we are in this for the long haul, you and me. While I am raising you, my girl, you are raising me.
There is no talking about you without your brother. This year you brought bickering to a new level. Some days I was sad thinking maybe you would never be friends Dad and I don't know what it's like to have a sibling so close to us and now we are seeing... this is just what it's like. Deacon started Kindergarten and you two being at the same school is magic for both my time management and your friendship. It is impossible to ever get through breakfast because you both want to take a dance break every song but seeing that you live life having FUN is the best.
Last year you found your heart for the outdoors and this year you dove right in. We are building a house, on a bunch of land, for YOU (and Deacon) because you are both just better at life when you can explore and roam and BE outside. This year we hiked and we adventured and you did brave things like go to Girl Scout camp and you *almost* spent the night but a huge storm ruined your plan. You remind me to get out of my head and get outside. I can't wait to see the adventures ahead of you. This summer when we met with the electrician at the new house after a big storm you and your brother found frogs, you lost your boots and sock in a huge hole, and you were happier than I've ever seen you. You live wild, my girl, and I love it.
You've got friends. You've grown up with them. Lots of kids do playdates and we just hang with the people who have become our family. It's both lazy parenting and giving you a chance to have the cousins I had growing up. It's my favorite thing in our life. Watching you grow up with these people, seeing their parents love and support you, and seeing you all become your beautiful unique selves together is my joy.
While you and I are clones you and your dad have the same sprit. You need downtime, you thrive in adversity, and when you love or want something you don't care how much work it takes to achieve it. This year for the 'variety show' at school you decided performing wasn't your thing but creating a fairy house WAS. You and dad were all in. You two dream things up and then do them. It's magical.
Not a year can pass when I don't remind you that Dixie WAS my dog. Once again you two just grow closer and closer. She sleeps with you, you take her on walks when I make excuses, she is your favorite listener, and you two are thick as thieves. Deacon has asked for us to get another dog just so he 'gets' a dog since Dixie is so clearly yours.
This spring Aunty Courtney married Chris the Boyfriend (now Chris the Uncle). We Disney'd, you flower girl'd and we had the best time. It was a perfect week to be with family and run away from real life. We rode Splash Mountain three times in a row and you ate Mickey pretzels until the sun went down. Vacation always does good things for us.
Since these letters have become a way for me to keep record of the big things in your life I have to mention two things:
1. You can eat your bodyweight in bacon and I'm so proud.
2. You dress like a camp counselor and have your own wild style and again... I'm so proud.
There is no way to say anything about this year without talking about Tutu. Losing her last month has been the hardest thing any of us has done. You loved her so well. She loved you like crazy. To the end. No matter how bad things got you could bring a smile to her face. You gave the end of her life... life. I will forever be grateful for what you carried at such a young age. I write these letters to you every year just in case, someday, my memory fades and I forever want you to know what you mean to me and the things that made up our life. Your Tutu loved me so well. I hope I can love and raise you even a little bit as fully and whole-heartedly as she did me.
So here's to a big year for you, my girl. EIGHT is going to be GREAT. We've survived some of the hardest things and I'm ready for a year where we adventure, where we grow, where we do some more figuring out of this life together.
I love you forever and more,