Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dear Ten


Dear Ten,

Whether you are the number of digits on our hands and feet, the representation in years of a decade, or the scale by which numerous things are scored, you are indeed the mark of a milestone.  Dear Daughter turned ten-years-old this past weekend, which means that I have had the honor to be her mama for exactly a decade.  I don't even have words to describe the feelings that went through my head as I typed out that last sentence, so... yeah.

And if this post achieves nothing except to commemorate this momentous occasion, so be it.

Operation Birthday Party began when DD decided that she wanted to invite only a few girls from her school for a small, intimate party.  At this age, boys have been honorably excluded, as well as close friends who are not from school because of the awkwardness of conversation between social groups.  (Sorry, boys and close friends!)  A few months back, we played bocce ball for the first time, and DD chose that for her birthday party event.  Easy enough.  She did not have a theme this time (a sure sign of outgrowing childhood staples), so she asked for cupcakes in her favorite color with ten mini marshmallows each for turning ten-years-old.  Fair enough.  The evites were sent out, the spirits began rising, and we were all ready for the party.

Except we weren't really.  We were nowhere near ready as of the day before.

While the kiddos were at school, I started on the birthday banner.  In the past, I used to always hand-make the banners, cutting each letter by hand.  I got tired of that, so then I would Sharpie large block letters on a long strip of paper and let the kiddos color/decorate/go-to-town with it.  This time, I had an even better idea.  I knew I had some scrapbook paper my SIL had left from years ago, so I used those as background and printed out letters for the words, and stapled each one to a string of yarn.  This was the easiest banner I've made to date: it took the least amount of time to complete, and looked really nice.  Birthday banner, check.




Next, we had some shopping to do.  We gave all our friends and family ideas for gifts, and we were left to be last minute peeps ourselves.  We rushed to the mall after Dear Son came home from kindergarten, bought a few presents, and headed for Target to get goody bag items.  Did I mention we were not ready?  

After dinner, DD and DS had the opportunity to assemble the goody bags.  If you can actually see them doing this, you'd think they prefer this job over having the party itself.  Goody bags, check.  The kiddos went to bed, and I began baking cupcakes at 10 PM.  Yep, you read that correctly.  But no, we're still nowhere near ready.  You see, Dear Husband had a brilliant idea for a Birthday Morning Surprise.

We picked up a bag of balloons (72-count, to be exact) and some streamers because DH wanted to decorate DD's room to surprise her upon waking on her birthday.  So at 11:00 PM, we were doing this:




I gave up about a third of the way in (DH wanted to blow up all of them) and went to hang streamers in her room.  (I made sure to tell DH to take breaks so he wouldn't pass out on me, but man, did he rock some lungs!)  Thank goodness DD is a heavy sleeper.  Her gentle snores assured me that she wasn't disturbed by the floor creaks or the loud crepe paper sounds as I dragged long pieces across her room.  Except, of course, when I accidentally caught the stool I was using to hang the streamers on a doorstopper (you know, one of those springy things that make noises louder than a toy drum).  Doin-oin-oin-oin-oin-oin!!!!!  <Insert silent profanities here>.  I ducked down in fear, only to hear DD turn over--and groan.  Whew.  Mama almost ruined it, but it's true--my kids can sleep through practically anything.  Lightheaded-but-still-conscious DH, check.  Birthday Morning Surprise, check. 

It was a success!  We weren't there to capture her surprised look when she woke up, because we foolish parents were up late, uh, blowing up some silly balloons.  But she was indeed surprised.  And very happy.




Morning of the party, I had to finish the cupcakes.  I whipped up (literally and figuratively) buttercream frosting in DD's chosen color, and she finished decorating them with mini marshmallows.  They were fabulous!  Cupcakes, check.




The party went without a hitch.  She and her friends sat separately at another table, looking all grownup and proper, chatting and eating away.  Everyone played bocce, sang "Happy Birthday," and had cupcakes.  At home, DD opened her presents with fierce excitement.  The day ended beautifully.  And I have a ten-year-old.  A ten-year-old who goes from asking, "What time is it?" everyday to making unsolicited announcements of the time of day all.day.long. because her parents decided to buy her a watch for her tenth birthday.  That girl.  

Birthday party success, check. 




Looking back at some of DD's baby pictures, I see that her cheeks are no longer the chubby ones that I used to smooch all the time; her cheekbones are beginning to frame the features of her face that she now lets me smooch some of the time.  Her fingers and toes are no longer cute and nubby; they are now long and slender, like miniature grownup ones.  And her belly is no longer a round, poochy one of a toddler or young child; you can actually see the markings of a waistline on a flat, elongated abdomen.  My little girl has grown from an infant to a child to a bona-fide tween.  Hold me.

Motherhood has been one exciting ride with this super special girl.  She has taught me more than she'll ever realize.  I've learned the meaning of perseverance as well as the heartaches and wonders of being a parent.  I've gained wisdom from making mistakes and reaping successes.  I've been humbled by the sort of love that parents unconditionally shower their kids.  You don't know that you have it in you until you're willing to give it your all.  It's also comforting to know that DD understands that we as parents are not perfect, that we don't know it all, and that we're learning as we go, too.  

Cuz goodness knows that I don't have a clue as to what I'm doing.  I just know I'm doing my best and I'm following my heart.

So, Dear Ten, as we welcomed DD into her double-digit years, I also realized that there won't be another ten years before she will be out into the world on her own.  As daunting of a thought as that is, I am and will still chug along at this thing called Parenting.  And I look forward to many more tens of years of it.

A tween in the house, check.

Sincerely,
Me

14 comments:

  1. What a sweet post for your 10-yr old daughter (LOL, "a decade...hold me"). I'll hold ya now if you hold me 7 years from now! How time flies! I love the description of the changes in your daughter's features. From chubby toddler to lean tween. What a great banner, cupcakes, and surprise balloons (the best!) and even a watch in her favorite color! Glad the party went really well!!!!

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    1. Lisa! I think in 7 year's time, there will definitely be lots of hugging (and even sobbing)! You got it! I was going through her albums for that one pic on FB (she actually has albums; DS? not even one) and got so sentimental seeing her baby pics! She's growing so fast that I'm not even sure what do with her ginormous body anymore. Actually, there is one thing of benefit to me: I get to inherit her shoes soon, so I'll be picking out shoes *I* like for her and wait til she outgrows them. *fist pump* Thanks much!!

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    2. You can fit into her shoes? How small are you feet? Or how big are hers? Daaang!

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    3. Lisa, she *almost* fits in my shoes--it won't be too long now... I'm a 6.5. She's almost a 6, depending on brands. I've always remarked about her large feet since she was little. She will be certainly be taller than I, that's for sure!

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  2. Happy Birthday Daughter!
    What a wonderful party!
    This is such a beautiful post; it made me tear up because my DD is going to be 9 in 2 weeks and the changes you described in your girl are also going on in mine.

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! It was a fabulous weekend! We had family over and lots of little cousins love, too! My mind is just so blown about how this happened--I didn't realize the whole "tween" thing until I was writing this very post. Shows you how my brain is functioning in my 40's Club these days.

      Smooch your soon-to-be 9yo as much as she'll let you now! It's amazing how kids' bodies change over time. I definitely miss the softness and roundness, but it is sorta incredible watching your child grow into a young lady. :) Happy 9 to your Big Girl!

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  3. Happy ten years to you! Even though your DH and you felt very last minute, it seems like your DD didn't know a thing and had a perfectly wonderful birthday celebration. Yay!

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    1. Haha, Nilsa, DH and I work well under pressure, it seems. It just doesn't give much room for oopsies--if those cupcakes didn't work out, I woulda been in so.much.trouble! :) It was a fabulous day, thank you!

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  4. I loved seeing your morning surprise pics on IG. I am only 2 weeks away from this milestone myself. Hold me!

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    1. Thanks, Susi! I hope to see your daughter's big ten celebration pics on IG, too! And then we'll have a cyber hug and weep about our daughters growing up too fast... :)

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  5. It is surreal sometimes to look at my kids, where did my sweet babies go?

    I can imagine you guys prepping for the party late at night, you are lucky to have such a willing partner in crime.

    The next ten years will teach you even more patience, but you will love them the same if not more for seeing your 10 year old become an adult.

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    1. Laura, I always appreciate your words of parental wisdom and encouragement for me. I think it's wonderful to have friends with older children to help me pave the Road of Parenting. Although, really, your DD is only just a few years older than mine. But I think you're spot on--the next stage will be a test in patience of a different kind, much more on an emotional level. The becoming an adult part will be quite humbling, I'm sure. One step at a time, right? Thanks, as always!

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  6. Yay! You made it through '10' and pulled off a couple surprises. (Had to laugh at the balloons...that is too funny! Too bad compressors are so noisy- that would've made the job easier...we used one when we filled our boss' office with 1,000 balloons on April Fool's Day.)

    Our older son turned 10 last year, and that one was really hard for me. Double digits and changes. Of course, my boy's changes are a bit different, but they say the same thing "they are getting older". It's hard, but it's inevitable.

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    1. Hi, Janna! We definitely will consider an air tank next time, perhaps for DS's birthday surprise. After all, it has to be a little different than this one, right? Floating balloons in the room might just do it!

      It is hard on us mamas, isn't it? I hear it doesn't get any easier, unfortunately. There are lots more to look forward to (or not) down the road. It just also reminds us that we're getting older, too. Sigh!

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