Kate, You’re 10!

Oh my Kate,

From my own mother-daughter relationship, I am aware how different daughters can be from mothers. I’ll never forget the look on my pharmacist’s mother’s face when, in fourth grade, I told her I wanted to be a writer.

But even so, I am still surprised at how very different you are from me. You are extroverted to the extreme. You have 107 best friends, including about 27 “besties.” When you tell me about your day, you go on long stream-of-consciousness ramblings that, more likely than not, stray into tall tale territory. You have fantastical stories about your friends, your school day, your life.

You are wildly silly, especially at the dinner table. You giggle yourself into hiccoughs most evenings. Some days, I find it exhausting but some days I find the energy to laugh along. You are affronted easily; for all your goofiness, you do want to be taken seriously. You don’t like being ignored, and you *really* don’t like being criticized. You have some thin skin, my dear.

As has always been the case, you have a lot of energy. You like gymnastics, and you are talking about taking up basketball. You are certainly tall enough! Your birthday outing will be to a roller skating rink for the second year in a row. You have managed to find several friends who have trampolines in their backyards, and we are all grateful for that.

You are easily affectionate, and you still like to cuddle up. You are managing being alone better; I think the Kindle helps with that. You are the only one who can manage Michael sometimes, a fact that Flora and I both find amazing. He listens to you; you can calm him down. I think sometimes it is because you can give him 100 percent of the attention he is craving, while Flora is impatient with him, and I am tending to him in a distracted state more than half the time.

While you are an indifferent student, you aren’t dumb. You are liked at school for your outgoing personality and your willingness to participate and help. You like to do well, but you aren’t thrown off when a grade is a B- instead of an A. You are in the chorus and you play, with much enthusiasm, the alto sax. If there was ever an instrument to fit your personality, it is the alto sax.

You want to take care of things. Getting you a gecko was a wise move; something on which you can lavish your love and attention; something to focus your responsible nature on. I think you will be a good pet owner.

You and I have fewer conflicts now than we have had in the past. I am adjusting to the fact that you are always going to live louder than I will, that your boundaries will always be bigger, that you wear your heart on your sleeve (much like your daddy). You will tend more toward impulsiveness than quiet introspection. My job is to feed your spirit and teach you to look before you leap, and to have patience during the times your spirit is hungriest and your leaping gets ahead of your looking.

I will always be here to catch you, baby girl.

Happy 10th birthday. You are bright and beautiful, and I will always encourage you to shine. I love you, my middle, my wild child. All my heart.


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