Dear Aven, Today is the first anniversary of your grand (speedy) entrance into the world,…
Have I told you lately how much I love you? How proud I am of you? How amazed I am by your love, kindness, strength and brilliance? How worried I am for your tenderness, fragility and soft heart? You delight and frustrate me on a daily basis and I can’t imagine life without you. It’s hard for me to put all these feelings down, to find the words that adequately convey exactly how I feel about you and what you mean to me, but I’ll try.
I’m so very proud of you. I’m proud of what an amazing big sister you are. How so much of the time you think about your sister first, even though you’re only 6. How sharing things with her is your natural inclination, and how even with a 4 year age difference, you guys can play so well together every day. You protect her and teach her and I couldn’t ask for more. I talk a lot about how you need to be her sister and not her mommy and I hope this is the path your relationship takes as it is such a beautiful and important one!
I’m proud of how strong you are, both physically and mentally. You have grown more this year I think than any other and continue to excel at just about everything you try. You are doing so well in school, even as your second year of French immersion has challenged you more than we expected. You have a love for learning that I hope you always keep, and one of my favourite things is watching you struggle with a challenge, persist until that switch flips, the lightbulb comes on and you get it. You are the same way with many things in life, whether it’s cartwheels and monkey bars or reading and math. Keep pushing forward, keep rising to those challenges and know that you have what it takes to overcome each and every one of them.
As proud as I am of you, I also worry so much (sorry, you come by this honestly). The same tenderness that I love in your relationship with your sister leaves you so vulnerable in dealing with others who may not treat you so gently. You’re just starting out in school and it can be a difficult and unkind place. I try so hard to ‘fill your bucket’ as you say. To boost that inner strength that helps you realize that the things that other people say and do have absolutely no reflection on you. To show you how to objectively view the different reasons that people behave the way they do. I try so hard to encourage you not to be afraid. Don’t be afraid to say hi to someone you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to join the game. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid. I say this from a place of experience and regret. You will miss out on so much by letting fear make your choices. You are strong. You are complete. Don’t ever say yes or no to something because you are afraid. Say yes because you want to. Say no because it’s the right choice. Take all the time you need to make a decision. Jump I with both feet on a whim sometimes, but don’t ever, ever let fear decide your path. You have everything you need to survive and thrive. Get out there and live!
It has been a big year full of a lot of changes and ups and downs. I’m sad that we don’t have as much time to spend together since I started my own company this year but I have treasured every moment we did get together, even the tough ones! I hope this new year brings so many more of those special moments!
I’m only beginning to understand how losing your Papa this year has affected you. I saw how my sudden and prolonged trip away from you all frightened you in a way I never anticipated, but it’s only recently that I notice many little things that show me how much you miss him. I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, and I promise we will continue to share his memory with stories and photos all the time! I hope you know that your Papa loved you more than you could ever imagine.
I hope you know how much I love you too. I hope you understand that even though you challenge me every minute of every day, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It shows me that you are fierce. That you think for yourself and don’t simply accept what is put before you. You make my life more difficult than I could imagine but I sleep better knowing that when push comes to shove, you can handle anything thrown your way. From your your very first breath, all the way through surgery, recovery and test after test after test you have shown me that you are not only a survivor, you are a fighter, an overcomer, a champion. I am in awe of all the obstacles you have conquered in the few short years you’ve been with us and how your cheerful demeanour and positive outlook continues unfazed. You are an inspiration to your Daddy and I, and so many others.
I’m so excited to see what this year brings; to see you continue to grown both physically and emotionally. I’m excited to see what new skills you learn and challenges you face. I’m excited to see how your relationship with your sister grows and evolves. Most of all, I’m excited to be part of the journey every step of the way.
Happy Birthday Adri!