Happy birthday, Rosemary.
Today is your 8th birthday and you are currently standing with one foot on the coffee table and one foot on the couch, talking on the phone with your friends Winter and River. The way you move and communicate is remarkable. You almost never sit still. In the time you got on the phone, you’ve been in the kitchen, the bathroom, the family room; and in the time I wrote these sentences, you moved from the couch to the basement door which you are now swinging open and closed, open, closed. Don’t you ever get tired?
This year, of course, you’ve grown a lot. You’ve grown more compassionate and giving. You’ve grown more loving and independent. You’ve grown more sassy and strong-willed. You’ve grown … well, you get the idea.
Some things this year have been hard. We are facing a move out of the house we’ve been renting for the past 3 years and the uncertainty has been a bit much for you (truth be told, it’s been a lot for all of us to face). We’ve noticed in your life that you tend to get some really nervous habits (or as we’ve been trying to call it “extra energy”). Things like consistently clucking your tongue, clearing your throat, going to the bathroom, and chewing on your hair (and pencils, crayons, clothes …) have had an on-again/off-again place in your life. It’s always been that one habit stands out during a particularly stressful time of life - the end or the beginning of a school year, for example. Usually when we’re facing change. Currently all of these habits have come to the limelight at once, because of our impending move and the uncertainty of where that will be.
We’ve been talking with a counselor, reading books, and doing what we can to help you learn to appropriately channel all this extra energy and learn how to best deal with your worries. In the process, your dad and I have learned a lot about ourselves and see that you have managed to get some of those traits from us (surprise, surprise).
Your dad used to gnaw pencils down to the lead and I remember my parents constantly on my case for chewing on my hair. I’m learning that I also get pretty overwhelmed in the face of stress and have a habit of feeding my worries. And your dad, oh your dad, really likes routine. So we try to be the best parents we can. At times, we find that we are either lacking the ability to help you, or more often, that we don’t have much patience in spite of ourselves. It’s hard to stay cool when I notice that you chewed holes in your clothes; but it’s even more difficult to know how big your worries feel and know that, in a lot of ways, I’m powerless to help you feel better.
I believe that you are a strong, happy, loving, silly, confident girl and that you will continue to grow into all these traits, and even more. Perhaps in some ways it will be because of our parenting and in other ways it will be in spite of it. For now, all I know to say - and I say it over and over again - is that I am so proud of you. I’m proud of you for the things you do - like skiing, reading, playing, singing, and writing. But even more, I’m simply proud of you for who you are. Inside and out.
Your dad and I will never stop trying to do all that we can to give you love, guidance, and support. We will never stop praying for you, and never stop trying to get out of the way and allow you to become who you were meant to become. We will continue to have our good parenting moments and an occasional step or two (or three) into the “bad parenting” section. Because we’re human and it’s the way God made us.
For now, I’m thankful you’re still holding my hand. I’m thankful you still cuddle with me on the couch and want me to comfort you when you’re sad. I’m thankful for your honesty, thankful you tell me so much and are comfortable with it. You are exactly the person I want you to be. Keep doing such a great job!
Love you forever, *Mom