Today is my little girl's birthday. She's turning 9. It seems unbelievable and surreal. Just yesterday she was all drool, chubby cheeks, and gibbering. Today, she's a well-developed human being who is learning and growing all of the time. She has a crush on a boy and she's starting to get embarrassed of her mom. I get it. My first instinct was to call myself her "old mom," because that is what my dad called himself, my "old dad." He still does. So, I'm getting less cool by the second. 🤣🤣

Anyway, after a really great day as a family, I'm left reflecting on the last 9 years. It hasn't always been easy; we all have ADHD and hers is pretty severe. She hasn't had a very positive school experience and things at home can get tense and hard. But we try to have fun and we love each other with a fierce abandonment, my daughter and I. As I sit here, winding up her 9th trip around the sun, I have so many things I wish I could say to her and have her understand.

So, to my child...

First and foremost, I hope you never lose sight of my love for you, no matter how much you might think that you hate me. I hope that one day, you can feel this same kind of love. It is so pure and unconditional. I would walk through fire for you, fight for you, lay down my pen for you. I will support you, root for you, help you, and be your biggest fan. I will tell you when you're wrong because I love you and I will pick you up when you don't listen and you fall. You won't always fall; in which case I will be humbled and celebrate with you. My rowdy, loud, sweet, sassy, and smart girl...you will always have me in your corner.

Secondly, I wish you knew the lengths I would go to, to protect you from so much of what the world will bring you. Sadness and pain. Hurt feelings. I can already see you changing because of what other's think, which is natural, in some ways. I remember a day not too long ago when you were playing video games with your friends. I came in and told you that I loved you and, happily and enthusiastically, said it back. I knew by the look on your face that they were teasing you. The next time I did it, you just mouthed it back. That's okay. I know.

People are not always going to understand your differences. You're not always going to fit in and teachers are going to mistake your motives and motivations. Its even possible that you will encounter bullies and people who are cruel by nature. They will belittle you and try to make you feel small. If I could stand in front of you and take the blows, I would do it. But I will be there every step of the way and I will always fight for you.

A time will come soon when you will lose magic. Some idiot kid will delight in telling you that Santa isn't real or you'll finally realize that there are no monsters under your bed and, slowly but surely, you'll stop believing in it. I beg of you, please hold on to as much of it as you can. There is magic in the world, though not the kind that can drive around the world in a night, but it's there. Find it and hold tight to it and don't even let cynicism take it away. Hold tight to your imagination and use it to build your dreams up to the sky. Use it to propel you forward, knowing that mom is right behind you, rooting for you all the way.

Finally, you. are. so. cool. Seriously. You are smart and funny and beautiful. So freaking cool. Not everyone is going to realize that; not everyone is going to take the time to get to know you. It doesn't matter...as long as you know. You are the coolest kid I've ever known, the smartest person! When I first met you, you couldn't even hold your head up on your own, see more than several inches from your face, or do...anything, really. Now look at you. You've learned it ALL, including 3rd grade math (no matter how much you thought you wouldn't).

You, my dear child, are a force to be reckoned. While half killing me today, your stubbornness, defiance, and curiosity will be the things that propel you out of this universe. You will kick so much ass when you've finally grown into womanhood and take many names. I'm sorry if I broke any of those parts of you, in my frustration or my anger. I hope that you one day realize that I am a human being, just like you. It's hard to remember that your parents are imperfect. I know I didn't fully realize it until I was a parent myself. Suddenly, here I was, with all of my issues and problems, but now I was someone's mom. It's jarring and I'm trying to do my best for you.

I love you to the sky, you silly girl. Happy birthday.💜💜