Tuesday, May 28, 2013
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.