Wow, eight! How did that happen? This last year has just been the biggest blur! And all of a sudden you’re this mature, kind, well-rounded kid. I don’t know if it’s because you’re a big sister, or it’s because you’re FINALLY getting to experience school as it’s meant to be, but you have just grown so much that it equally makes my heart sing and break!
So … let’s talk about the year that was.
Well, you were amazing. It wasn’t the easiest year. As well various COVID-related lockdowns, for a big chunk of it your Mum was not as present as she usually is, often curled up on the couch with extreme nausea and fatigue, and really getting by doing the minimum. And yet, you didn’t complain. You helped. You nurtured. You told me it would all be worth it. You cuddled up and put your lips against my growing belly, and felt your little brother kick. So typically you, taking it all in your stride.
And then, half way through your eighth year your whole world changed, with the (early) birth of your little brother. Oh, missy, watching you as a big sister has just brought me so much joy. You’re so caring, so loving, so MATERNAL! And in watching you I see myself reflected back, I see how I can help shape the mother you may one day be. You speak with your little brother the same way I spoke with you, it’s incredible. You just love him so much – sometimes I think you think you’re his Mum! It’s so lovely to see.
Finally, you’re getting to experience school without lockdowns. And that has come with a new set of new challenges as you navigate the minefield of friendships and emotions, and different levels of emotional intelligence. For the most part you hold your own, though I worry that your gorgeous thoughtfulness is taken advantage of – you’re such a lovely friend, always thinking of others. It’s been nice to see you expand your friendships this year, and recognise those that aren’t bringing you joy. It shows a maturity rare for your age.
And as eight comes I can feel you pulling away, so intent on making your own way in the world already. Insisting that I speak to you like an adult, ‘just tell me like you would tell an adult, mum’, you insist. You are full of opinions, full of knowledge (yes, even things I don’t know), and so ready to tell us all how it is. It’s wonderful! (Don’t get me wrong, it drives me crazy sometimes, but even then it makes me proud.)
You’re still obsessed with books. This year you discovered Harry Potter. It started with me reading it to you, and ended with you reading books four to seven by yourself, insisting it was faster than reading it with me (you were right). Now you navigate the world with a magical narrative, often with a wand in hand!
You’ve decided that you want to be a baker. I think it’s fuelled by watching every single baking show on Netflix. While it may not be your eventual vocation, it’s been fun nurturing it, with us making an epic beach-themed cake this year (three layers, if you don’t mind!) to celebrate at your first proper party in three years (pictured). It’s a nice thing we can do together, without me getting on your nerves. 😉
It is just a privilege to watch you grow missy. You continue to amaze us all the time! You’re so smart (even your teacher says so!), and kind and all sorts of wonderful.
I can see the challenges ahead as we help you make that leap from child to tween. Your world is going to get bigger, the challenges are going to be a little harder to navigate, but we are going to be alongside you every step of the way, cheering you on from the bench, and ready to jump in and play whenever you need.
Happy birthday, sweetheart.