a decade old

today is sophia’s birthday. this wondrous human being turns 10. and even though she refuses to celebrate today (we celebrated saturday instead), i’m going to pause on this day to gather the graces of ten years gone by:

i have found myself on the wrong end of her fists over the years, teaching her how to let it roll over and out in a better way. i’ve held her small body as it seized, over-heated. i’ve had little sleep and cared for a tiny human while consumed by postpartum depression. i’ve worked jobs outside the home, only to come back to the demands and soothing coos of my baby. i have been the anchor for my family, navigating a new culture in a different part of the world and traveling on long plane rides, passing gummy snacks to my squirmy littles. i make play dates and make plans for celebrations. we have traditions and i’ve learned to listen to what she prefers. over these ten years i’ve closed myself behind doors and cried over the heartbreak of hearing ‘i hate you!’ from her mouth. i sense the imprint of her body on mine the last time she fell asleep in my arms years ago. i’m trying to stop putting my expectations and wishes on her and instead, i’m recognizing and respecting her own system of navigating through this world. even though we share some traits that draw us together, we are often at odds in our differences.

i’ve ridden the waves in the ocean with her and, in the desert, the back of a camel while holding on together. i’ve had the opportunity to reparent myself through her and have been finding the sacredness in mothering as she leads me through a new threshold: parenting a tween (as she excitedly exclaims)! we’ve run through airports and climbed up trees. We’ve drawn pictures side by side, and she laughs at the way my people look mis-aligned, compared to the remarkable artistic representations she can make. she remembers and needs to remind me of how that ‘one family story goes.’ we get gushy over seeing cute dogs being walked around our neighborhood.

on this day when i want so much to elaborate on the excitement of her birth, i will take her lead and instead find beauty in the inward contemplation and celebration. happy birthday dear one.