My first baby turns 9 today and I’m feeling all the birthday feels. I know it’s not a milestone age in terms of Hallmark cards, but in many ways, it’s been a turning point year. I’m also acutely aware of the fact that this birthday marks that halfway point to adulthood – and yes, time is flying by too quickly.
These past 12 months, I’ve felt the dynamic between her and I shift in a way that is different from any other year of her life so far. She wants to know more about me lately — about where I’m from, where our story started, what kind of job I have, what sorts of things I’ve written, why I like to run, and more. I’m not just ”Mom” anymore; I’m an adult woman with stories that spark her curiosity.
A few months ago she said “Mom, it seems to me like you are really talented. Are you?” The woman inside me immediately wanted to downplay her claim, but the stronger, smarter woman in me responded: “I am. Thank you for saying that.”
What I didn’t say then, but made sure to slip in throughout conversations in the coming weeks, was this: “You are talented, too.”
It’s a funny thing when you start to see glimpses of the real, grown-up person you are raising. It’s interesting when you see parts of her personality that don’t align with your preconceived notions of how she will behave or act – but they are even better than you imagined.
Emilia possesses a sharp wit that catches me off guard. Sometimes her replies are too cunning, too quick, for me to properly volley back. Most of the time, I don’t know if I should tell her to turn up her tact filter or sit her down to watch Amy Schumer standup.
She loves to read but has politely rejected my American Girl choices in favor of fantasy or mythical series like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. She adores anything Star Wars; she makes up her own characters with double heads and purple hair and leaves notebooks around the house with the starts of a dozen stories. Along with friends from class, she launched a Fossil Club that meets during recess at school. When she was unanimously voted president by the members, she told me, “Someone had to be in charge, Mom. It was getting crazy.”
She doesn’t care much about animals or babies, but she can make her younger siblings howl with laughter for 30 minutes or more at a time. She gives her just-younger sister (by a year) a hard time about many things, and vice versa, but when that sister came home crying because another second grader told her she had “hairy legs,” Emilia replied: “Well, you just tell her that her legs are hairy, too. That’s just how humans are created. We have hair and sometimes in weird places. So, what?” She’s kind, and sympathetic, and has a reply for EVERYTHING.
Most days Emilia favors comfort over fashion, throwing on a T-shirt and gym shorts before hopping on her bike to head to third grade. She’s a talented runner — but doesn’t see her gift yet and pushes back when we try to foster it. She wants to make her own choices and most of the time, she makes favorable ones.
I look forward to meeting more of this young woman who has half of my DNA and such a large part of my heart. As we cruise into this 10th year together, I’m looking forward to being surprised even more by this child – halfway to adulthood already.
Happy 9th birthday Emilia. You are loved, so loved, by so many.
Let’s connect on social media, too: