Dear Aven, Today you are two, and while part of me feels like…
Happy Birthday! I can’t believe you are 7 years old today, I’m not sure that I’m ready for that yet. For some reason, 7 feels like the start of a new phase of childhood. I’ve noticed a subtle shift over this past year, where things that were once appropriate for you aren’t any longer. You’re not interested in little kid shows or little kid toys anymore. You no longer run around naked (thank goodness) and even your speech is changing. You are maturing at a frankly alarming rate and it takes my breath away.
School has changed for you too in ways both good and frustrating. Social skills are much more complicated, and you have more responsibility than in previous years. I’ve seen you grow to meet challenges with a mix of bravery and fear but you have overcome each and every one of them. You are slowly learning to advocating for yourself, in spite of how much you hate doing it. I wish I had passed on more useful traits to you like being outspoken or extroverted, but some way or another I think us introverts will do just fine.
You are an incredible big sister and the relationship you have with Aven is the most precious thing to watch. I rest easy knowing that you are constantly looking out for her, and teaching her all the things she needs to know. I wonder sometimes if I put too much responsibility on your shoulders in caring for your sister. I’m not sure that you’ll ever know how much it means to me that I have you to help me in that way. Your sister responds to you in such a unique way – she thinks you hung the moon and stars just for her. I hope your relationship is as strong, and then some, for your entire life. It is precious, always treat it as such.
Did you know that I worry about you constantly? I worry that we don’t talk enough, and then worry that I pester you way too much. I worry that you play by yourself too often, and then that you are at your friends’ houses way too much. I worry that I give you too much responsibility, and then that it’s not enough. I worry that I praise you too much, and then that I should do it more. I worry about what you eat or don’t eat, if we picked the right school, if we should move or not – you name it, I worry about it.
The one thing I don’t ever worry about is you knowing how much I love you. I tell you only about 100 times a day, and will until the day I die. I am so excited (and nervous) to see what 7 brings. I hope and pray that whatever comes your way, we have done enough to foster in you the strength of body, mind and character to face it; enjoying the good things, overcoming the challenges and forgetting about the rest.
I love you to the moon and back.