March 2, 2015
Today you are ten.
There are parts of me that can hardly believe that the baby I brought home, the one with the chubby cheeks and big pink bow, is now holding another baby with chubby cheeks and a pink bow. You're doing this without being asked, just because you love your little sisters. And, let's be honest, you could tell I need help.
That's what's so amazing about you, Anna. Even though you're freshly ten, there are times that you act so wise beyond your years. We expect so much from you and then, in the same breath, feel so guilty about it. Just a fourth grader, you are so helpful, respectful, responsible. You do things for us without being asked. While I know that our family dynamic requires you to be responsible for your laundry, your retainer, your homework folder, shower, animals, you name it, I think if we would have just had you, you would have done the same. You're just that type of person.
But, when you're not, and you act like just a "normal" fourth grader, I get frustrated, and I'm sorry for that. You're just TEN, but I often forget that you're still a little girl. Maybe it's because you're innately responsible, but maybe it's because you are big enough to sit in the front seat beside me, wear the same size shoe as I do, and almost look me dead in the eye.
It's almost too much.
This growing up is happening too fast.
While we started out two peas in a pod (yes, you cried every single time I left the house for the first three years of your life), you and your dad have forged a special bond throughout the years. He's who you confide in. He's who you look up to with hopeful eyes. He's the guy who speaks the language you understand. He's a first born, too, so he understands how you feel most of the time. He speaks livestock talk and understands the bond you feel with animals.
And that's okay.
It's actually really great.
I know that while your dad is who you need most of the time, our bond is still strong. We have an unspoken one. The trust I have in you to be my helper, the respect I have for you as someone I can have a meaningful conversation with, and your sweet, tender heart is our bond. You don't need me to do things for you like the little kids, you can take care of your own business. (except when it's time to make your bed when you've fought with your covers that night or put your ponytail in!).
Our bond is one that is easy, because it has been easy to be your mom. You have made it that way, and I'm ever so grateful. Sometimes, however, I feel like because you've been so fun to be around, easy to discipline, reason with, take care of, I have forgotten to enjoy all the little things and appreciate all the good and light and sweetness you bring to our family. It's just always there, and like so many things, I take that for granted.
But I am so grateful for you, Anna, and I want you to know that, especially on this special day.
You are my oldest. My first. You are the one who made me a mom first. You are the one I chose over my career, finishing my master's degree, everything. I chose to be your mom first and only. The other kids are just as important, but when I had you, everything changed, and I am so thankful for that. Being a mom has been the best decision, next to marrying your dad (of course!), I ever made. I thank God that He made me your mom.
While being a mom to you is easy, being the oldest in this family is not. Being the oldest around here often times means that you have to wait the longest, do the most, handle a lot more. That looks harsh as I type it out, but I know that these skills will serve you well. You'll be one of those people who can survive the first year of college with clean clothes and a stable psyche. You're going to be one of those friends who doesn't put up with drama, and not just because of your laid back personality, but because you've grown up with a family who doesn't have time for drama.
I have been your mom for ten years, sweetheart, and it seems like ten minutes. I can't believe that in the same span of time that I have been your mother today, in just another blink, you'll be 20. An adult. A college kid, with lots of life to live and lots of potential in front of you.
I'm so happy I was chosen to be your mom, and I'm so thankful you're my oldest. You started it all, kiddo. We hit the jackpot with you, that's why we kept going, right?
Thank you for being you. Keep being you. Your dad and I love you more each day, if that's even possible.