Ten. Ten years old. You are ten. When did this happen? Seemingly over night, when I was off and busy doing other things. You are double digits. I swear you seem taller to me today, than yesterday; more grown up, straighter. It's like 10 is under your feet and you are standing on it, it's your podium - a starting block for pre-adolescence.
This year has been a ride. It's our last year here in England. You are disappointed about not getting to finish Year 6. I am sorry that things have worked out like this. But you are facing our impending move with your standard positive-things-will-work-out-just-fine attitude. It's lovely. You are concerned about the best friend you are leaving behind, but you aren't too worried for yourself. You've got your head up and you are looking towards a new adventure. It's the same head down, tackle it head on attitude you have about most things. You don't give up, you don't bend to the wind. You have learned to be true to yourself, speak honestly and try really hard not to let other people get you down. It makes me so proud of you.
Being honest, this year has had its struggles socially. The pool of girls in your class is very, very small and it is a bit clique-ey. You have found one good friend and the two of you are sticking together and weathering the storms. Even for your birthday party, you just had her over for a sleepover and that was enough. You were content to be with someone who really likes you for who you are, rather than needing a big group of people to reassure you.
Even with the often challenging social situation you are open and sunny. You are loud and a bit bossy, not much has changed since you started talking. You are also extremely helpful, generous and thoughtful. A decade in, I think I can say with certainty there are somethings about you that are just part of your fantastic personality.
Reading has become your go to entertainment. If you get quiet I know I'll find you somewhere in the house, nestled down with a book, storming through it. Aunt Kiwi sent you two books for your birthday and I know you'll be finished with them in weeks. You love to share plot summaries and talk about what scary/happy/exciting things are happening. You talk about the characters like they are old friends and what they are going through, you experience a bit of as well.
You also have continued your love of art projects. The Highlights magazines get a thorough pouring through each month and you carefully circle and mark the projects that you would like to do. And you do them. It's so nice that you feel free to try new things and can take the initative to follow through on creating a project. Once you've made something, you often give it away. You have really started to dabble in sewing and embroidery. I need to be more relaxed about letting you do it so that you can really start learning.
Academically you are flying high. Gone are the days of uncertainty and feeling a bit behind. You have made leaps and bounds in your Hebrew studies and are now in one of the higher levels. Conquering maths has been an amazing accomplishment and you are also excelling in reading and writing. In fact, your teacher recently pulled me aside to let me know that you are assessing at the national average for the end of Year 6. Though I never questioned your ability to do it, I am relieved and proud of how hard you have continued to work.
I often ask you if you'll help the little girls. If you aren't up for it, you know you can say no. And sometimes you do. But more often than not, you say "sure" and take care of whatever I've asked you to help with. You also will offer to help them and you do it with no sense of keeping score or needing reciprocity. And I have noticed how much you love little babies. You will leave playing on the computer at our local kids hangout to come and play with the baby sister of a classmate. You'll make a fantastic babysitter, I can see you earning lots in high school! Your responsiblity and care will take you far.
You miss nothing. There is not anything that happens in our house, around, next to or within ear shot that you don't register and file away for future use. It shocks your Daddy, but it doesn't surprise me. You are paying.attention.
We've had some experiments in adolescent behavior. You've been trying on different attitudes and some no-so-nice behavior. But the waves have been few and far between. You've also noticed your changing body and so you've been asking some questions and devouring the books we got you about puberty. Adolescence and puberty are around the corner, probably closer than I would like to imagine. But I know that when those changes really begin, you'll be asking questions, processing, talking and just dealing with whatever those changes bring. Just like you do with life.
You are an amazing, beautiful, smart, funny, kind, thoughtful, sensitive human being. I love being your Mum and guiding, teaching and hanging on with you through this crazy life. I'm excited to experience California with you, it has a special place in my memory and I hope that it will be an adventure you cherish the memories of. With as friendly and confident as you are, I think you're going to do great and I can't wait to share it with you.
I love you, my big girl PrincessE.