She asked me when she was actually born. As in time of day. I don't hold numbers that exact in my mind, so I told her I thought it was around 6am. This morning, I went into her bedroom, and sang Happy Birthday - her wake up song. She responded,
And I'm really already 11 years old.
Yes, yes you are.
I remember the moment, the very moment, you were inside of me, then you were in the world. The final push. It's like a cosmic shift in my heart. I went from being me, to being me with a newborn. Scary, exhilarating miracle.
I remember you liked Curious George. Oh, don't worry, I won't tell your friends. Or is it OK if we say you used to like him? Yes, we're entering that stage. Let's navigate it together.
I remember the time some road work was being done outside Grandma and Grandpa's house, and a backhoe was left overnight. We threw a vest on you, and it turned out to be one of my favorite photo shoots.
I remember the tutus and tiaras, ballerina and princess dresses. Most of the time, I let you wear them anywhere we went, even changing three or four times a day. It's a short-lived phase, but one of my favorites.
I remember the movies we watched again and again. Princess & The Frog, The Little Mermaid, Brave, Mamma Mia, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
I remember taking you to your first musical, Annie, with Grandma Haynes. It got a bit long at the end, but most of the show, you sat on the edge of your seat, and sang along. Afterward, we met Annie and her dog, Sandy. The dog, of course, was your favorite.
I remember dropping you off at preschool, and we didn't know a single person in the whole school. It never mattered to you. My confident, independent little girl. Always.
I remember how your Barbies didn't talk to one another, they sang. I remember it like it was yesterday, because it was (but I'm with you, and I won't tell your friends).
I remember your first haircut, by Aunt Mary Lou, which was exactly what my heart wanted. Then, I remember the preschool haircut, so cute. In between, I remember the three haircuts you gave yourself. I think hair is going to be a creative outlet for you.
I remember watching your right hand touch the paper with a marker, a pencil or a pen (rarely a Crayon), and you drew something we could recognize. An artist from your early days.
I remember your open house this year, realizing it was your last open house in the Elementary School who has been so good to us. I've learned every first time has a last time, but the times in between, therein lies the good stuff.
Thanks for every memory you've ever given me. Happy birthday.