Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear Ainsleigh,

I've walked with you and the neighbor kids to school in the morning, making sure you get there safely (and on time). I've watched as you talk about silly kid kid things and throw back your head and cackle like you've just discovered the funniest thing in the world. As we near your line by the door to the school, you break into a jog and meet up with your friends. Soon your heads are together and there's more laughing and talking. I have to walk up and tap you on the shoulder and say, "Give me a hug goodbye" to remind you I'm still there. You throw yourself into my arms and tell me you love me, but as soon as you let go, you're back into the riveting discussion I interrupted. I walk away, glancing back over my shoulder, but you don't notice.

Do I sound sad? I don't mean to be. Part of me watches you in wonder as your independence takes you farther from my side. I really am thrilled at the kid you are becoming. But then sometimes I watch videos or look at pictures from when you were smaller and I am sad that those days are gone. That maybe I didn't fully appreciate it in the moment.

This year you made huge strides (strokes?) in swimming and finished learning (because it seemed to take a while) how to ride your bike. You ran your first race this year and my heart loved you so much when you came out of your room, ready to "train" in a tank top and leggings because, "I want to look like mommy does." You started second grade and we have discovered that you are a pretty great speller. We have also discovered that math is a tricky subject for you. Story problems are not a problem. If I say an addition/subtraction problem, you know the answer. If it's written on a page, you have to really think about it. But you soak up information like a sponge and every day you come home and I try to wring you out before you roll your eyes, click your tongue, and say, "I'm really tired. Can I just go play now?"

This year, you have taken on more responsibility with your siblings. I can say, "Watch Gemma for me while I take a shower," and not only do you make sure she doesn't empty the bathroom cupboard, you take her into your room and play with her, laughing when she destroys whatever nice princess setting you've created.

You're still my stubborn sweet sensitive girl. When you set your mind to something, you don't back down. I love that you want to get things just right, but am sad when you view anything less than perfection in yourself as a flaw. We've had some good discussions about how our best is best. It can be frustrating when you think you are smarter than me and get irritated when you think I don't understand. I have to get you to slow down and think about things for a moment, to get some clarity.

And then there are times like a couple days ago. I say, "I'm going to go take a shower. Please make your bed and then we can leave," and you nod and I see you walking toward your bed. Ten minutes later I reappear and there you are, reading a book on your floor, bed still unmade. I ask you about your bed. You, flustered, say, "I forgot." I don't understand this at all. That was all I requested. You were walking toward your bed, a FOOT away, and you...forgot? Distractions are a problem, and it has been trying and enlightening to see that your learning pattern is completely different from mine.

No matter what moods we may be in, we both love a good hug. Sometimes I sense that you need one, even when you don't know you do. Sometimes I can see that you are sad or hurting and you don't want to talk about it, but say, "Let me hug you," and you collapse into my arms, almost shrinking into my lap, and my heart breaks for you. I love hugs from you under any circumstances, but especially those that I have to remind you about as you stand in line at school. In that brief embrace, I whisper that I love you and your arms tighten around my neck and I know that you will become more and more independent, but you will also know that I am always here, waiting to hug you.

I love you,


PaloAltoCougar said...

They won't/can't appreciate them now, but you have given your kids some really outstanding and everlasting Christmas gifts with these letters. They're very lucky to have you and Joel as their parents.

Margo said...

These letters are priceless. You are such an amazing mother. Do you mind if I copy your idea and write my kids a letter? I love you tons...

Becca said...

Well THANK YOU for making me bawl in the bonus room on Christmas eve. Now all I want for Christmas is to be a mom...well maybe I should be a wife first haha.