Tomorrow (at 3.46pm to be precise) you are going to be 9. NINE!
As each year passes it shouldn’t come as a surprise I know that. Yet it does. As I see it written down or am suddenly mesmerised by the huge shiny 9 balloon swaying in the middle of the lounge next to your perfectly wrapped presents awaiting you it takes my breath away. It seems so, big!
So this is the time that I get to talk all about you. About your year, recall the little moments that seem so ordinary now yet will change without even having known they existed in the first place. Indulge me for a moment will you?
Eva Dee, you are at this magical age right now of being grown up enough to understand the world a little more. To have in depth conversations about your day to day, emotions, opinions, even philosophical views (although you’re unaware that’s what they are). At the same time being able to run with your friends, play make believe with your sister or laugh at the voice changing microphone whilst dancing in the middle of a room full of people to the silliest of songs. This, I can tell you, is utter joy.
Gosh do you love to dance. Absolutely everything is dance to you at the moment and if it isn’t? Well then you better believe you can make it so. You mostly live in sportswear, dance leggings and a hoodie. It continues that you wouldn’t choose anything pink or overly ‘girly’. Perish the thought. Ripped jeans and a jumper all the way. You’re just too ‘cool’ for that. Apparently!
Your confidence has come on leaps and bounds this year and I thank dance a lot for that. For helping you find your passion and your place. You may never want to be a professional dancer, you may not even remember when you get older that you did it at all. Or you might, who knows. But it will always have been such a big part in how you became who you are. So much so that you even started drama school with ease in September which has surprised us all I will be honest. The confidence you now show in your own decisions, knowing what you want in life, is just wonderful to see. I adore that.
Drama school is said to help confidence, which I really hope it does for you, but my baby girl I cannot tell you how far you have come from the person I have had to coerce into many a class and use my ninja negotiating techniques to encourage you to merely try something new. For you the confidence is merely turning up and taking part. I am so proud of you.
Hopefully it goes without saying that it doesn’t matter to me what you choose as your hobbies, what you end up doing for a job or the path that you lead. What I do mind is that you are happy to be you and that is my job to help. I don’t always get it right baby girl, but I do always try.
Which seems to be working because now you want to try everything!
Netball, art, running, HIIT, yoga, ballet, tap, modern, cheer leading, street dance, climbing, violin, bike riding, skateboarding, sewing, singing. You name it and you will, and have, taken to it this year. As it turns out you are quite the sporty girl. Yes sometimes you lack some forethought or get distracted way too easily by a fly or what someone you barely know is doing or saying in a room you’re not even in! But you are having fun whilst also not being afraid to say if it’s not for you. No longer afraid of getting it all wrong (mostly). Long may that continue.
The huge shy smile that lights up your face reaching with a beautiful crescendo right up to your eyes when you come out with ‘woman of the match’ will never get old. I listen intently as you relay every minute detail of the game accompanied enthusiastically with the exact words that the teacher said when you did well. Ever the seeker of approval. May you always want to shout about it.
In terms of growth it seems to have been off the chart lately. Your legs are now the longest I could ever have imagined. You have to have extra length trousers despite your athletic torso and I am positive it won’t be long before you are not only towering above me but sharing in the same shoe size too. Before quickly surpassing! I’m afraid sharing of clothes might be another story entirely though baby girl. Due mostly to your long legs and aforementioned athletic physique, which is definitely from your Dad, and not just because of our differing fashion taste. Obviously!
You still look so much like Dad it’s unreal. A mini him for sure. Except for that cute mini me button nose which clearly has a strong gene pool all of its own and is the very first thing I noticed about you the moment I looked at your brand new face in real life and all of the ‘eskinoses’ that have followed.
Since your last birthday you have grown into your teeth. Although there is still a wonky one at the bottom where it just doesn’t fit. (I know surprising right? There are times I think your mouth could not get any bigger!) It’s simply your face now. After so long thinking we’d never get used to those new big teeth I now can’t imagine your gorgeous smile any other way. It’s funny how quickly these things become totally normal.
The 9th year of your life saw adventures close to home…lots of them. Many a National Trust with friends and family (7 different ones if I recall correctly), scrambling rocks, climbing mountains (ok ok a big hill but it felt like a mountain to both of us!) Your first festival, first camping trip, a baby niece (whom you adore) and your first sleepover with friends too.
Further afield after our summer plans changed we spent a few wonderfully sunny days in Norfolk. A family trip to Liverpool. Then a contrasting freezing cold but absolutely magical 4 days in a slightly more far fled adventure to Lapland!
What a year.
The Harry Potter obsession continues. You now test your knowledge with Harry Potter trivial pursuit and read the books constantly on repeat. Your knowledge outstrips mine by miles. Reading is still your favourite pastime. Every night when I check on you (because yes I still do that and I don’t ever want to stop) you have a pile by your bed. I am constantly nagging you to both close the darn book and go to sleep, and to put them away on the book case before they over take all of the floor space! Truthfully though I cannot imagine you without a book in your hand and hope that passion never leaves.
You have even inspired me to put down the to do list and read more. Some of my favourite moments are after Roma has gone to bed (shhhh don’t tell her) where we can be found sitting together in the best silence I have ever heard with a peppermint tea each and a book. I try to concentrate on the words but often find myself looking up at you and smiling at how we got here. These quiet ordinary moments really are the best and I hope you feel that too.
Other things that you love is food. Eating, naturally (I don’t think I could ever fill you up) also watching baking and cooking programmes, reading cook books, writing recipes and the pièce de résistance; getting to work in the kitchen yourself. You learned to ride your bike in the spring and my goodness do you love the freedom. It goes to show that when you put your mind to something you can totally do it. Have I said how proud I am of you?
You’ve really settled into friendships this year and I am seeing the shift in focus already of your need to spend time with them over us. I would say I feel sad but it just feels so lovely to watch you have fun I can’t help but be positive about it. You of course know that we are always here for you and when you find navigating friendships hard there are always three people right here to talk you up.
The relationship you have with Roma is the best. Like literally I could listen and watch you communicate forever. She absolutely adores you. I really couldn’t have wished for you to get on better. Yes it’s occasionally fiery, you wind her up (as she does you) you squabble and argue but you are also a wonderful team. You both know that no matter what you will always be there for one another with complete and utter trust and that shows. You love her so so much it’s incredible and she just thinks you are the very perfect person. If you look in her eyes when she looks at you, like really look baby, you will see it. It’s magic.
You play together so well at home yet at school I think it is taking some getting used to after having the domain all to yourself for 4 long years. You go from protective loving older sister showing her off to shrugging and pretending you don’t see her if she’s crowding you or talking to your friends! I know this, but I am powerless to do anything other than give you the tools to be kind because with the school journey this really is the first journey in your relationship without me. That scares me a bit baby but is also such a big and exciting step for you both and your future relationship. You seem like you’ll be the best of friends but hey who knows, we have some possibly tempestuous teenage years to come after all!
It hasn’t always been fun and smiles of course. The beginning of the year saw yet another operation on your ear removing a pesky polyp and grommet which had stuck. The end of the problems, or so we thought. It didn’t go quite to plan with an infection that followed and a year of check ups with a hole in your ear drum which they warned may have been permanent. This meant ear plugs and being careful every time you showered or washed your hair. As you can image that was fun Eva! Thankfully we have got the all clear meaning relief all round. The first thing you said though? “Yes! I can swim without ear plugs now” *insert fist pump here. We did it though, we got through and hopefully this really is the end.
Life is full of ups and downs. It’s no secret to you that it hasn’t been the easiest of years for us. The hardest in fact. Sometimes you find life too hard to deal with or understand which leads to frustrations. To doubting yourself and everyone around you and relationships get frayed. Please don’t doubt yourself baby. Whatever life throws at us we have got this and you are never ever alone. Remember that we are your people and as I come to celebrate with you I am so proud that you are you and I need you to know that. To believe that.
At your best you are the kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful person with a huge heart. You try so hard (sometimes too hard) are loyal, helpful, enthusiastic and so much fun.
My hope for you for the year to come and indeed all of your years is that you see how awesome you are. I wish I could let you know that you are good enough, whatever that may be, always. That you soak in all the good in the world world as much as you dish it out. That you do not waste time on what other people think and that most of all you are happy in whatever life you lead. Preferably with me right there by your side though yes? Deal?
Perfection is a myth baby girl. Happiness, contentment, love, those are the things to strive for. Just be awesome. Just be you. In turn I will I continue to try my best to help you through and teach you that it will all be ok.
For I literally cannot imagine a day without you in it and as much as we need space from each other sometimes I hope that you never forget that even in that moment I love you. In that moment I still think you are amazing and brave and my life would not be the same without you in it.
It has seemed more apparent lately how much you want to grow up, I want to say too soon but I guess really it is not and even though I will always look back at the fond years that are behind us and wish I could get some of them back you do teach me every single day that its a bloody privilege to look forward to growing up. To stop looking back for we are not going that way. It is a pleasure getting to know you, your opinions, forming your own ideas on life and this part is just wonderful as I learn to love watching you grow.
I don’t always know what I am doing and you are forgiving of that now. Understanding that we are in this together. Just don’t take yourself too seriously my love, life is for living. It’s not always easy, I get it. But laughing really is the best medicine and all part and parcel of the fun.
And my goodness do you have the most infectious laughter ever.
Happy Birthday baby girl.
Thank you for being mine and thank you for being you.
As always if I could choose any 9 year old, I would always choose you.
I love you
Forever and always