Friday, January 3, 2014

Dear Ainsleigh,

You've been sick for a week now with the flu, which isn't fair because we got the flumist and everything! But I shouldn't be surprised - you're independent and do things on your schedule. For the most part, this is usually a good thing. This time, it's a bummer. I've never had a kid this sick before. It's sad and scary because I just want my chipper girl back and I don't know how to fix you or make you get better faster.

One thing I've felt like we've "fixed" this year is your ADHD. I mean, you're still a little daydreamy on weekends. And you're not a fast reader. But that's fine by me because you're excelling in math and doing really well in school, and your grandma isn't a fast reader either but she loves to read and I can't think of a better person for you to be like.

I love that you are you, and you have a great sense of humor. While you laugh at dumb stuff (i.e. anything Donovan does), you also get sarcasm and a dry sense of humor, both of which I speak fluently. And you make jokes back that have me doing a double take and then giggling.

This year you turned 11 and began babysitting for us. You are WONDERFUL at this. Every time I suggest that Dad and I are going to go out, you grin and say, "Great!" It's not always easy - your siblings try to steamroll your authority sometimes. Also, you almost always leave the milk out. But you've gotten better at preparing meals and asserting yourself, so that is good.

New ski coat and gold Toms for Christmas
One thing I have loved seeing this year is how you are learning to control your reactions. Instead of freaking out or getting too upset, I see you close your eyes, take a deep breath, blow it out, and then open your eyes and speak in an even voice. You still have moments of irrationality, but I'm trying to do better at just listening and loving you, rather than trying to point out logical solutions. A couple weeks ago, I had to swallow my desire to BE right for what WAS right, which was to just stand quietly in your room and ask you for a hug until you were ready to calm down. Five minutes later, you said you were ready for that hug, and you came into my arms. That was a perfect moment, and I hope I can give you more of those, because you deserve that kind of mom.

It's ok to have moments where you don't feel great. Guess what - you're heading into puberty and it's going to get a whole lot crazier. A month ago we went to the junior high for a preliminary tour since apparently the elementary school thinks you're going there next year. What?! Yes. And you know what, as much as I say I don't want you to get older, I actually don't mind too much. I mean, don't rush anything, but you growing up isn't the worst thing.

In fact, you're actually a pretty fun human being. You have the wonderful ability to laugh at yourself. When one of the kids calls you a silly name, you usually laugh loudly and say, "Oh WHAT?! I can't BELIEVE you just called me that!" This makes your siblings giggle. When you realize you've goofed, you easily laugh at the absurdity. And you always always laugh at whatever (dumb, usually) jokes Donovan comes up with. He and you continue to be the best of friends. And you have been so good to play with Gemma this year. She looks up to you and wants to be just like you. I hope your goodness continues to rub off on her.

This year was the first time I've seen you have doubts about yourself because some dumb girl made you feel bad. I hope you can ignore and/or walk away from people like that. Stick with friends who make you happy. Stick with friends who make you feel the way you do when you're at home. I wish I could protect you from everything, but since I can't, please remember I will always be here to listen and hug you and remind you what a phenomenal person you are.

The last thing I'll say about this year is that you've become quite the hair stylist. You love to try new things and I love seeing what you come downstairs with each morning. And then in the evenings you'll style my hair while we read. We finished the Harry Potter series this year, and it was quite emotional for me. Partly because I love the books, and partly because I saw how much you loved the books. On Christmas morning, when you kids opened the gift that told you we were heading to Orlando in a few weeks and you saw we would hit Harry Potter world, you were wiping your eyes and saying, "I feel like I'm going to cry!" It was a perfect moment.

I feel that way just about any time you look at me with soft eyes and a content smile. You were the best gift I could ever get, and I am trying my best to give you everything you deserve. I desperately hope you feel better soon. It feels like a lightbulb is out in our home and I want it to come back on.

Love you billions,


Wanda said...

Love that girl!