Today you turn ten. TEN!!! I know the cliches people always say: Where did the time go? and How did you grow up so fast? But it's true...it passes so quickly, and in what seems like the blink of an eye, you went from a 9lb 1oz newborn in my arms to a blossoming pre-teen who is almost as tall as I am.
You are embarking on a new stage of your life, my sweet daughter. Unfortunately it won't always be easy, but it sure is an adventure! You are in a very big transition time; you are in the process of changing from a young child to a young woman, and I have one request: Please don't rush it!
And who is that exactly? you may be wondering. Who are you right now, as you are between stages? Neither child nor adult...but a "tweenager." While I may not remember many specifics of myself at this stage, I do sort of know what's in store for you.
There will be days when you long to be treated like a grown-up, yet days where you want to be treated like a small child. At times you will feel like you can do anything you set your mind to...and other times you will feel like nothing is going right in your life. Weeks will go by where you feel confident in who you are becoming, and then suddenly out of nowhere you will feel lost.
I watch you these days, Joelle, and I see a walking contradiction - in a completely normal way. The day when I came home from meeting Malia at the bus stop and you were in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher without being asked. And when I slept through two of Malia's sleep-walking escapades this week,
you were the one who got up to take care of her in the dark night and make sure she got
back into bed safely. Like the mature, responsible grown-up daughter you are.
And then in church on Sunday, you're carrying a stuffed pig around...like the sweet and innocent young child you are.
Some days your new position as a "tween" is shown by rolling your eyes at your little sister for being...well, little. Yet the next day you'll be the young-hearted girl skipping down the street singing goofy made-up songs while shaking your little tail-feather, caring little for anyone who may hear or see you acting silly.
You are starting to take more care into your appearance - making sure your hair is "just so"...but sometimes your definition of "just so" involves a unicorn-like ponytail at the top of your head. Never lose this freedom of expressing yourself.
There are days when you give out the vibe that "I-can-do-this-all-by-myself-because-I'm-older-now"...but I thank God that there are still days when all you want is to snuggle up with me, because you know that you still need your Mom [and just out of personal experience, that never goes away no matter how old you get].
Yes, you are caught between two different worlds, each one trying to pull you over to their side. But you don't have to choose one or the other...not yet. The tug-of-war will continue over the next months and even years, but over time the gradual shift will happen. Naturally.
In the meantime, Joelle...just be. You will find your way into womanhood - in your own way; in your own time. And I'll be rooting you on the entire time, my love.
Happy 10th Birthday, sweetheart.