Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Nine Is Divine

 August 13, 2020

Oh my sweet baby, you are NINE! It is so hard for me to believe you are nine. You are my baby, my velcro, my cuddler, my side-kick. Somehow the newborn that never stopped crying is the happiest, most joyful child in the entire world. 

Nine years ago, we left for the airport after a phone call came letting us know you would be arriving shortly, three weeks early. We flew nervously to Los Angeles with only our family knowing. You were about to be the biggest surprise for many, many friends.

You came into this world a few minutes after midnight and by two in the morning, we were exhausted, happy, and realized you were going to teach us more than we bargained for. The nursery nurses told us "she likes to be held" and that was probably the only advice we received that rang true for your first 18 months of life. You had us up all night, all day, and in between fits of rage from your un-diagnosed milk allergy you would smile a smile that let us know to just keep holding you.

In nine years you have proven to be tiny, yet mighty. We heard a million labels and went to a million different therapies and you prevailed. Nothing was going to hold you back. Nothing was too tough for you to accomplish. And there was nothing you did without a smile. You are the gift of lessons.

In nine years you have taught me patience. You continue to throw curve balls into my need to plan everything personality. You have your own timeline and you will accomplish the goal, but you will do it when you are ready. With my mental checklist always in the fore front, you continually teach me to slow that checklist, enjoy the sunshine, and just let life happen. Just yesterday you used a knife correctly and made your own sandwich. We have been working on this incessantly and like always, it just clicked. I know you will continue to teach me to breathe and take pause and to embrace the world around me. Patience is never easy, but like you, it is worth the wait.

In nine years you have taught me bravery. Oh my goodness, you are so brave!  With every challenge, I pray you will find success. You ask so many questions, voice your opinion, tell me when you are ready and then you take that leap of faith and the accomplishment is the most glorious thing I have ever witnessed. You rocked swim team and second grade this past year. Even when things were tough to learn, when things were exhausting, you tried. You tried, tried, and tried again until you were able to complete the task at hand. A few days ago, you swam in your first ever swim meet. Your bravery was admirable. You were nervous, you cried, but with all the courage your tiny body has you climbed onto the block and dove into that water to swim as fast as you could. I do not think I could have screamed any louder. You are a woman of valor.

In nine years you have taught me unconditional love. Whether you have had a bad day, or your sister has, or I have, you love us no matter what. You are never angry. You forgive immediately. You accept us and love us every minute of every day. You love with your whole heart. You love with every fiber of your being and those lucky enough to be loved by you have a heart filled.

In nine years you have taught me joy. Joy in all the things. Pancakes, waffles, a trip to Target, LEGOS, LOL dolls, the park, a car ride, a sunset, a cloud in the literally doesn't matter what it is, you will find the joy. During this pandemic you were able to find a bright spot in every thing, every day, every hour. You were our happiness in five months of uncertainty. You brought smiles and laughs, you brought a care free spirit, you brought jubilation. 

You are an inspiration to so many. You do not realize the influence you have on others, but you motivate people to work harder. You show people that grit and determination pay off. You remind people to never quit. You show the world to never ever count out the underdog, the small one, the quiet one. You persevere in all that you do and your family and village of friends watch in awe as you soar.  

You are strong. You are coming into your personality and beginning to get sassy, but your strength and convictions are solid. You know right from wrong and choose to surround yourself by those who lift you up. Your friends support you and you support them. You encourage, you follow rules, you stay on the path that is correct for you and deviate for no one. You are true to yourself.

Nine years ago, I did not know all you would bring to our family. You may not know it, but you are the glue that holds us together. We can always count on you to re-center our focus, turn a bad day into a good one, to remind us to hug, to show us the beauty in our family. You are our sunshine, our happiness, our unicorn and rainbow.

You are smart, tenacious, caring, kind, funny, loyal, and phenomenal. You are all those things and so much more. Your Hebrew name, Malka Chaya, means Queen of Life and that you truly are. You live each day to the fullest, never let anything stop you and you remember to smile along the way.

I hope nine is all you dream it to be. I hope nine continues to be a year of growth and triumph. 

Happy ninth birthday to the baby that will still hold my hand and still tells me "I love you more."

I love you more today than yesterday. I love you forever.



Wednesday, August 5, 2020


August 6, 2020


12 years ago on an extremely hot day our lives changed forever with a simple phone call. You were here, you were born, you were ours. As you know I forgot to ask our caseworker if you were a boy or a girl and then spent two hours driving to the baby store even though it was only twenty minutes away. Our lives were instantly changed, for the better. You were here. You, our incredible daughter, made your debut.

12 years ago social media was just getting started and people did not live their lives out loud like they do now so we made phone calls, sent emails, and cried happy tears screaming, "It's a girl!" to all our family. 12 years ago, you made everyone that loves you happier and you haven't stopped adding joy to all our lives.

This year from eleven to twelve you had some big bumps. Life hurdles that even adults have had a hard time coping with, but you handled them with style and grace. When you then mixed in some serious preteen attitude you were able to overcome each and every obstacle thrown your way. I literally have watched you grow from girl to young lady in a blink of an eye. I am fully in disbelief that my baby, the one I would let no one hold or feed for six months (maybe more), is twelve. 

Twelve. How in the world are we here? 

On this twelfth birthday I want you to know that I know you will accomplish every single dream you have. I believe you literally will change this world. Your stubborn attitude, your independent thinking, and your heart will take you where ever you choose to go....even if that choice is A&M. (Hook 'em)

Your mind is brilliant. You are smart, witty, inquisitive, and have a desire to learn that is unmatched. From the time you were able to sit up you have wanted to be engaged in all things educational. There is not a book, article, paper you won't read. There is not a lesson you won't listen to. There is not a stone left to be uncovered when it comes to you finding answers. Your quest for knowledge is admirable and it is that knowledge that makes you so powerful.

You are compassionate, generous, sincere, an old soul. You stand for all that is good in this world and I have enjoyed watching you learn to debate what you believe to be true. You fight for the underdog, take people at their word, and are loyal. You are a true friend. In this past year you have learned the difference between friends and acquaintances. You have learned what it means to show someone you care. You have learned the beauty of girlfriends and how a simple FaceTime call filled with laughter can fill your cup.

You are an incredible sister. Sure, she can be annoying and you can dish out some zingers, but you are truly a cheerleader for her. I have seen you grow more understanding as you mature and I know that sister bond will never break. I am proud of how you encourage her, watch out for her, and make sure that she is treated equitably. I know you are excited for middle school, but respect how you will still listen and tell your sister she will be just fine without you in elementary school. Your word is gold to her and I have seen you become careful with those words. 

At twelve we now get to joke around and dish out sarcastic comments. I am loving this new phase of our mother/daughter relationship. I love singing Top 40 songs in the car with you, making fun of daddy, and laughing about the dumbest things. It has been awesome this year getting to laugh with you. When you laugh, your whole face smiles and reminds me what a beautiful person you are - inside and out. Your personality has come out of its shell and even though you think we are different, our humor is the same. You love to laugh and as you grow older you will learn to keep humor in your life for laughter is the best medicine.

At twelve you are entering middle school and due to Covid you must start school on line. It's not ideal and you're less than thrilled, but you will crush it. You will do more than survive middle school. You will continue to soar because you, my amazing daughter, take no bullshit. (Yep, at twelve I get to write profanity in your birthday letter.) You do not play games, you do not accept dishonesty, and you definitely do not allow people to walk all over you. You have high standards for those you keep close to your heart and while those standards may cause some disappoint, they will allow you to grow as an individual and only align yourself with those that will stand with you. 

I am beyond proud of who you are and who you continue to become. I watch in awe as you navigate life with more elegance than most can muster. You are truly a gift from G-d. Before you turn thirteen, you will have your Bat-Mitzvah. I cannot believe we will celebrate this momentous occasion this year. Your excitement after each Bat-Mitzvah lesson lets me know not only do you have faith and trust in G-d, but you truly do understand the importance of this milestone. I am already overjoyed at how you've embraced this chapter in your life and continue to show enthusiasm each week. This will be one of life's biggest blessings and I am thrilled it is happening for you. 

While I know your are beginning the last year before you are teenager and I know some days you do not want to grow up, I want you to remember you will always be my little girl. There will never be a day you cannot cry, stomp your feet, or throw a temper fit. I will love you through it all. I will continue to hug you even though you are almost as tall as me. I will continue to tuck you in, say our prayer, and check on you in the middle of the night to make sure you are breathing.I will wipe your tears and even wipe your face because apparently braces have made you messier. 

Happy 12th birthday to the the young lady that keeps me on my game and keeps my heart filled with love. I love you more today than yesterday. 

May all your wishes come true.