Thursday, January 14, 2010

To My Daughter on Her Tenth Birthday

I write a letter to both of my daughters on their birthdays every year. I only started very recently. I posted Amelia's last year when I was getting started on blogging, to help my potential readers to get to know me. Abby's was handwritten in a card covered with piggies, so I couldn't post that, though I did keep a copy for my journal. I hope you don't feel that I am invading Amelia's privacy by sharing this with you. It's part of my writing life, though, so I will share it. I won't share the journal entry that I'm writing tonight, however, even though the entry is, ironically, partly about blogging. Why do I feel disloyal, somehow, that I will be needing to keep that to myself?'s the letter.

January 15, 2010

Dear Amelia,

Double Digits.

On a cold January morning, one whole entire decade ago, on a morning just like this one, you fought your way into the world, determined and hollering, and made me a mother. Oh, Amelia. Of the many things I am grateful for in life, I think this tops the list.

When I used to think about the idea of having a ten year old daughter, I used to think that it would be a wonderful thing. Never in my wildest dreams, though, did I know that my daughter would turn out to be as smart and funny and kind and full-of-life as you are. You surprise me every day. I feel surprised when I look at your report card and test grades and realize that you are the smartest girl in your class. In anyone’s class, as a matter of fact. I feel surprised when you talk about someone else’s feelings with such compassion and understanding, and I see how sensitive and deeply kind you are. I feel surprised when you giggle and I remember how full-of-joy you are, and how that just bubbles out of your soul. You are more special than any daughter that a mom could make up in her wildest dreams. And I feel blessed, every day, when I remember that you’re mine.

Double digits. I hope you’re excited. I hope you’re proud of who you are and who you are still becoming. And I hope that the pride and confidence that your dad and I feel in you will help you to get through the things that are hard. It’s not easy to be smart. It’s not easy to be kind, and to have a great big heart that gets hurt so easily. But know that no matter what, no matter who hurts your feelings, your dad and I are on your side, in your corner, ready to give you a hug and try to soothe your feelings. And punch the lights out of anyone who messes with our girl.

From this point, for kids, things can start to get a little weird. It’s great to be double digits, of course. But things start happening in your body and your spirit that you might not quite see coming. These two books are gifts to help you with that. Read them, and we can talk about it. Whatever "it" is. What I most want to say to you, my too-big girl, is that no matter what the question, no matter how embarrassing, no matter how upsetting…I am here for you. I am your mother, and it is my job, and my honor, to answer your questions, and help you make your way through all of the changes that lie ahead. We might fight, though I hope we don’t. We might hurt each other’s feelings, though I hope we don’t. We might not understand each other sometimes, though I hope we always do really, really try. But, through it all, I will always be your mom, and your biggest fan. I will listen, and will think that you are the greatest kid in the world, and that I am the luckiest mom.

I am so proud of you, Amelia Brigid. I am so proud that your childhood, so far, has been happy. I hope that Ten Years Old brings you lots of dreams-come-true. New friends, new great books to read, new adventures, and your very own room. Your own little space with your own desk and lots of elbow room to dream, dance, and become. And even when you have that space of your own, I hope you’ll still snuggle up on the couch with me, at least once in a while. Even if you don’t need that, I can promise you…I do.

I love you to the moon and back, my little one. You might be ten, but you are, and will always be, my precious baby.

Happy Birthday, my darling.



  1. Your daughter is a very lucky girl to have such a wonderful Mom.

  2. Oh I just love it Kell!!! That would be just about the best thing to receive from a mom. I pray for the time and stillness to write something even half and lovely for my boys on their birthdays. Happy Birthday Amelia.

    Love you Kell!


  3. I do that too, every year. I never give it them though, not yet anyway. But this is lovely and smart and wonderful.

    She is a lucky girl. And I am lucky to have such a wonderful Mommy-mentor.