This past month my youngest girl turned 11 and we celebrated with a Minecraft cake and a sleepover and a family dinner at Lone Star Texas Grill. We all learned to ski together as a family in Tremblant the weekend before her birthday party. In many ways, that was the perfect start to sporty spice’s birthday week. This is the daughter I still joke never met a sport she didn’t like. The one who wandered off at Disney when she was four and nearly gave me a heart attack on the spot. The one who sported my eye shadow the day we went to visit a local martial arts studio when she was four (we were just taking a peek to see if we might be interested in the sport) and six and a half years later is still there two or three times a week. The girl who swims like a fish and runs like the wind and still screams too often when mad or frustrated even still.
So what did 10 look like? This was the year hormones kicked in and she grew about two inches in height and two or three shoe sizes. It was the year the sleepovers were the be all and end all of a girl’s social calendar. When choir and music became more important and enjoyable and even a source of pride at school. The year we coped with change together and learned sometimes change can be good. We moved homes just before she turned 10 and our entire school population moved somewhere new because they’d outgrown their old building. Apprehension and worry found words instead of behaviours.
It was the year we took our first ever cruise and discovered many new places together. It was the year I watched you play football in Costa Maya Mexico for 90 minutes hurling that thing like a rocket with some diehard American football fans. The year you spent your own money to get corn rows put into your hair. The year you stayed up past midnight on a cruise ship in Carnival’s kid’s club and didn’t want to leave your friends when we picked you up. It was the year you were disappointed occasionally by people who were supposed to be adults and helpers. The year you still thought you’d like to be a police officer when you grow up. The year you baked a lot and cleaned a bit and read often. A year you treasured your one hour a week riding horses at SARI. The year you were in the newspaper advocating for more support and putting a human face on FASD.
Ten was also the year hormones kicked in and made you taller, girlier and a bit more volatile at times. Ten was the year that you still raced with, and played with, and swam with boys, and didn’t bat an eye at that. The year you made friends effortlessly on a cruise ship and spent hours playing with them. The year I also tried to explain the concept of girls and the friendship dramas that they tried to suck you into. (PSSTTT…She said this about you when you left. She thinks it’s weird you play with boys so much.) I hope you remember to ignore the drama always and move to the beat of your own music. The year we laughed together when we remembered how you used to say Kepop for ketchup and arm of war for armoire. The year we rescued frogs from the pool out back and named the duck that visited us Beauford. Ten was the year you jumped on a lot of trampolines. It was also the year you were a bit ticked off that your older sister was a certified babysitter and you were not. It was a year you lost at least two more teeth. The year you dressed as Raph from TMNT for Halloween.
It was the year I saw a lot of the back of your head, racing off to meet friends, running out to go find fun and walking away to try to rescue a runaway dog. It was the year you grew up a lot, walked other children home from the bus stop and started to place friendships above all other possessions or experiences. Ten was the year you had more energy than the entire household of people combined. It was the year you ate your weight in peanut butter and jam and pizza, but not at the same time. It was also the year you spoke French beautifully when we visited Quebec twice. The year you joined a basketball team. Ten was the year I was proud of you more often than I was not. It was the year you outgrew drawers full of clothing, but still jumped into bed with me on a PA Day to cuddle up. Ten.