You're now old enough to read this blog and understand its purpose. I am writing this note to you as I write on every birthday, but today, it feels bigger. A whole decade has passed since you burst into our life in a quick, easy delivery. Ten years have passed since that terrible snowstorm, just a day after you came home from the hospital. The days afterward, I would wake up with you and worry how in the world I would handle two kids. Two girls.
I write these notes because now, obviously, we have more than just you and your sister, and because of that, I have fallen short in the memory making department. I'm not very good at writing things in baby books, scrapbooking or even printing off pictures.
Sorry about that.
So I write.
I remember like it was yesterday holding you, marveling at how small you were. I remember listening to you have a full conversation with your Dad at lunch as a toddler, already arguing about napping or something. I remember the look of wonder you had on your face when Grammy brought you to the hospital when your baby sister Amelia was born, and remember the way you waved good bye to Jack as you headed onto the school bus for the first time as a kindergarten student. You have been such a wonderful helper with the twins, guiding them and entertaining them when necessary. You have taken to the stage, learned to play an instrument, lead a 1000+ pound animal in the show ring, all the while, keeping us on our toes.
You are, and always have been, fiercely independent. This served you well as a baby, just 20 months shy of your big sister. However, it has proven to be a little difficult in a big family. You like to be alone, singing at the top of your lungs or tumbling in a space way too small to tumble. You have a strong network of friends, and, from where I see it, you are a good friend.
Like any parent does, we worry about you.
We caution you to "use your powers for good," as you have many. We worry that you will have to navigate a world that is unpredictable and different from what we have tried to create in our own little family.
We worry that with your independence, confidence and intense emotions, life may seem overwhelming at times. For ten years, we have tried to allow you to soar, but have had the ultimate say on your adventures, protecting you from the "hard stuff" we can keep from you.
However, in the next ten years, we'll have to let you go and let you fly. That makes me excited and a little apprehensive, maybe it's because I still see you as a little curly haired toddler...the one who, when asked what you wanted for Christmas, answered, "Long hair and a boyfriend." But what that toddler and this big girl today have in common is that you know what you want and you will figure out a way to get it.
(Not the boyfriend yet, though!)
You are just one of those kids that you know something big is going to unfold in front of you, and for that, I'm excited for the next ten years. Your dad and I will be watching you, keeping you in check and helping you figure out how to use those skills. Whatever you do, wherever you go, I expect our Little Jos will do something BIG.
Happy birthday, my spunky ball of fire. You are a light in our life, and I can't wait to see where that light will lead you.