Kayla today you are eight. Your dad and I keep saying that over and over again in disbelief. HOW is she EIGHT? We look at your little brother and think it wasn’t that long ago that you were his size. Walking around in oversized sunglasses like you owned the joint.
Neither of us can understand why eight feels like such a big deal compared to seven but it does. This morning you told me you want me to pick you up from school at “2:10 sharp” so you can climb the monkey bars. So grown up and yet, still a little kid deep down in there.
Last night I stayed up late cutting out a giant number 8 and decorating it with stars from Super Mario Bros. which you’ve fallen a bit in love with lately. We don’t have many birthday traditions but your earliest birthday memory is when I cut out a big 4 and taped it to your door while you were sleeping the eve of your fourth birthday. I could not possibly go to sleep without making you an 8.
Your biggest fear is being forced to eat school lunch. Finding the $1.50 bag of cotton candy in your Christmas stocking is still one of the most exciting things to happen to you in the past year. You recently asked Santa for a back scratcher and went on and on telling me how it’s a practical gift. Okay, nutter.
After MANY months of declaring that bowling was your favorite sport and your dad and I taking turns driving you to a dark smelly bowling alley, you suddenly found your calling on the soccer field and realized how much fun team sports are. Thank goodness.
You are often shy when meeting new kids, but you aren’t afraid of rejection. You want to try out for the local club soccer team and tell me that you’re going to do your best but you won’t be upset if you don’t make it. You still get to play spring soccer. I love that about you. You are not afraid of success or failure. Sometimes I think I’m afraid of both. I hope you never change.
You refuse to ride a bike. Won’t do it. There is nothing we can incentivize you or threaten you with to make you do it. But you sure do love scooting around town. Truth be told, had scooters been a thing when your dad and I were kids we’d probably be in your camp.
A few weeks ago you told me you no longer like your unicorn helmet and would like to buy a new one. I was a little surprised since everywhere you scoot there is an adult telling you they love your helmet. People calling out to you as you scoot and I push the stroller along the boardwalk. But perhaps that helmet is now like the tutus you think are silly and not at all your style. NO tutus. You’re into sporty clothes these days.
We went out and got you a new helmet just a couple of days later. It’s plain turquoise and you can draw on it with dry erase markers. I’ll still miss that unicorn and everything it represents. I’m keeping that damn helmet and putting it in your memory box. One day it will grace your own grown up garage like the box I have with yearbooks and Teddy Ruxpin nestled inside.
You’re growing up and we can’t stop you. Not that we’d want to, but sometimes your dad and I look back and realize that time is passing very quickly and we have no control over it. You’re the kid who made us parents and all too soon the day will come when we’re going to have to sit back and hope we did a good job and helped you find the tools you need to live the life you want to live. Which is terrifying.
And now here I am sitting here with snot and tears, realizing I better get it together before picking you up at 2:10 SHARP. We’ve got a date with the monkey bars. Happy Birthday to my big kid. I love you.