Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dear Ainsleigh,

Oh dear. I was so caught up in our 25 days of Christmas service, that I totally overlooked my end-of-year letter-writing I've been doing. AND, on top of that, I didn't even remember until I was going back through posts from 2010. And came across "Dear Gemma" and thought, "Huh, what's this about?"

So, here we go. A little abbreviated. A little late. But here, nonetheless.
Dear Ainsleigh,
This has been an interesting year. Interesting is a terrible word. I had an English teacher tell me once that "interesting" is a word to describe something when you don't have the creativity to think of something else. "Interesting" is boring and, really, a non-description. What is interesting to one person isn't interesting to another. So I suppose this isn't the best word, but it's a word.

2012 is the year we started talking about bodies. As in, your girl body. I think we had some good discussions about what to expect going forward, and I have loved how you've come up to me and said, "Uh, yeah, Mom? I have a question. A private question..." or left me a note that we can talk about later. I hope we can always have open and honest and frank discussions about health and wellness and how weird bodies can be.
This is the year we got a dog. FINALLY! You have been a great help and love Albus and he loves you. You're taking care of him and doing really well at taking care of your brother and sister. You are giddy at the idea of Dad and me leaving you in charge. And we, too, are giddy. You clap and giggle whenever I ask you to help me with dinner or be responsible for something.

This year you were on the swim team for the first time. You aren't the fastest swimmer, but your form is excellent. You aren't aggressive, but you are consistent. Above all, you never complain about practices or what your coaches ask you to do. We've seen your times improve and it was a good experience, even though it ate half of our Saturdays.
You were as excited about starting fifth grade as I was hesitant. Suddenly the kids look a lot bigger. The workload looks more intimidating. But you showed me that, as usual, while you may work at a different pace, it's what works for you and you get things done. This year, after much deliberation, we made the decision to try medication for your ADHD. Since then, we have been amazed and impressed and grateful for your success. You not only complete assignments on time, but you are understanding new concepts! In fact, at the time of typing this, your teacher has just informed us that you are reading at the level they expect at the end of fifth grade. This pleases my heart immensely.

You have been taking piano lessons and are doing so much better now that we've gotten past the first year and I largely stay out of the practice room. I do love it, though, when you'll call, "Mom? Can you help me with this? I don't get the timing."

You have become quite adept at doing hair. I often smile to myself when you come downstairs with a new hairstyle. Sometimes they look great and sometimes they aren't as great, but you are french braiding and styling in ways I never could at your age. Or even this age. One of my favorite things is to read to you while you brush and style my hair. It's like spa time for my head. And a hug for my heart.
You have become an amazing skier. I can hardly believe who this kid is, swishing down the slopes in her yellow helmet and pink plaid ski jacket. Your form is amazing and you've been skiing faster than Donovan lately. I find myself actually enjoying trying to keep up with you. I am really grateful that your dad has invested so much time (and money) into giving you this sport. It has taken a lot of work to get you to this point, but it was worth it. You are impressive.

You are such a good big sister to your siblings. You laugh at Donovan's jokes and play princesses with Gemma. You go along with Donovan's adventures and dress Gemma up and style her hair. They love being around you and so do I. Your smile is beautiful and your laugh is infectious. You love to love and I love to love you.

This upcoming year will be full of more learning and growth and fun and laughter, I am sure. I love who you are and the person you are becoming. You are thoughtful and kind and you want to do what is right so badly. I know I sometimes beg you to stop growing, but don't listen to me (not that you do). I love that we have more grown up conversations but that you still sound like a 4 year old on the phone.
I can't believe I've had you for (more than) ten years. TEN. That seems like a lot. I can't imagine my life without you, but it also feels like you just got here. I love you so freaking much, dang it, and I look forward to more great times with you.



NancyO said...

A lovely post. I miss being around you all.