My baby girl turns ten today.
The obvious question - how did that happen - has an obvious answer. Gradually. Over ten years. In bursts and stretches. Like watching a garden, but not quite so fast. We were out of town last week for just two days - really, only about 50 hours - and I could see changes in my tomato plants when we returned.
My daughter, the light of my life, the most beautiful girl I've ever seen, my moral superior. She's so much more than I ever expected her to be. I expected smart. I expected tall. I expected quirky. But I had no idea that we'd get the most amazing laugh, the smile that lights up the room, the eyes that make us melt into puddles of butter, the wicked sense of humor. I didn't expect her seamless social skills. I didn't expect her confidence. I didn't expect her pragmatism. That phrase, you know the one. It's not ordinarily used to describe people, but it sums her up so well: The whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Because she has so much of me, so much of Craig, but so much more that we can't claim or assign responsibility.
She was a perfect baby. I can say that now, because we're so far past that phase that it can't really make anyone want to throw tomatoes at me. She barely cried. She was so, so, so adorable. Made her milestones just a little early, which is such a relief for new parents. Nursed like a champ, made the move to solid foods with gusto, smiled a lot, slept well.
Her transition from baby girl to big sister came at an early age, but she handled it beautifully, with grace. Like being a big sister was her true calling. And she's been the best big sister I've ever seen, with a little brother who loves her deeply and truly. Their sense of family and belongingness is heartwarming and assures me that they'll be okay once Craig and I are gone.
When she started preschool, her teachers were astonished that she'd never been in any type of day care or preschool before. Only Sunday school. She fit in with ease, adjusting to the routines and the various children and making friends. She soon wrote her letters, then her name, and learned her phone number and address and all kinds of other great things.
The transition to public school from private preschool could have been horrible, but again, she managed change easily, taking the new demographic group in stride. She made friends, charmed teachers, and aced the academics. When we moved to our new house, the folks at her old school were devastated to see her (and her brother) leave.
And she wrapped the new school around her little finger, too. And the neighborhood. And the church. It would only be a slight exaggeration to say that flowers bloom in her wake.
The best part is that I'm the one who still tucks her in at night. I'm the last person to kiss her before she goes to sleep. I'm the one she confides in. I'm the one who can look at her beautiful face, her strong body, and say, "I made that."
Happy birthday, you beautiful, wonderful girl. It's been a great decade. Let's make the next one even better.
Monday, June 11, 2007
My baby girl turns ten today.