An open letter to my daughter on her ninth (NINTH!) birthday.

Dear Gracie,

Happy Birthday! Did you hear that? That was you not answering me back for the first time this morning. I tried several times this morning to wish you a happy  birthday, and each time you replied, “Not until 10:51 p.m.!!” So, that’s a thing this year. Apparently. Not that that stopped you last night from flinging open the front door last night when you got back from your dad’s, and singing – operatically – “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEEEEE!” – at the top of your lungs, with an arm flung out for effect. Yes, your flair for the dramatic is certainly (ahem) maturing right along with the rest of your personality.

In fact, last night’s mini birthday celebration was a wonderful display of Gracie At Nine: your dramatic entrance – oh how you love the drama, and somehow know exactly how much I can handle before I tell you, “Beep, beep, Gracie,” to get you to tone it down. Your willingness to clean the living room so we could open presents – you are always ready to help me with whatever I need, whether it’s cleaning, cooking, or whatever I throw at you. I think part of it is your tendency to lean towards kiss-ass (well, it’s true!), and part of it is that you love being the guy people count on. (Both rather like someone else I know.) The way you savored each present and thought each one was the very best – from each pair of socks to each dollar bill to the pair of Heelies that made you flip. the heck. out. You tackled your sister and I with hugs so many times it’s lucky we didn’t get rug burn! But that’s the way you are, Gracie-girl, always so quick to love those around you, to love them fiercely and with everything that’s in you. Of course, you still argued with your sister over who had the best spot in front of the cupcakes when we sang happy birthday, and I got after both of you for arguing, but HELLO, McFly – you’re eight nine! A little arguing with your siblings is how I know you’re not some weirdo pod-child! (“I know, right?” I can hear you saying. It’s your favorite phrase. Unrelated, your favorite word you informed me the other day, is “technically.”) But even after the squabbling, you quickly went back to your default mode: goofy with a heavy side of laughter. You were moonwalking and sliding all over the place like Bambi on ice when you tried on your Heelies. And that you let your sister try them after you were done made my heart grow a few sizes, Gracie-girl. You are a GOOD KID. Don’t forget that when you’re feeling blue.

And, yes, you do have some rough days from time to time. I’ve seen tweenagerdom peek its ugly head out from time to time. Thankfully not too often, because I’m afraid I don’t handle it very well. Don’t worry – I’m working on it. I’d like to escape these next several years with minimal bruising. Unsurprisingly, you came up with a workable solution. (Is there any code or problem you can’t solve? Seriously – CIA agent in training.) When you and I start butting heads, when both of us are angry and our stubborn selves have been activated, we both retreat. Sorry, baby – you definitely are just like your mama in that regard. But one day this past year, I heard the door to the room I was cleaning open up and a piece of note paper came flying in. You, Gracie-girl, had written me a letter about how you were feeling. And asked that I write back. And so that is how we talk now when both of us are upset. It’s rather ingenious, and I am so proud of you for coming up with a solution that works for you and for us. It’s one of the many, many pieces of evidence (another one of your favorite things – evidence) that shows me you are going to be brilliant when grow up and take over the world.

But as mature as you’ve become this past year, Gracie-girl, you’re still my goofy-guts. You’re still a kid. A fabulous one, yes, but a kid all the same. You might have spent half of your sleepover pulling pranks and riding scooters and having Nerf wars…but the other half you spent playing dolls with your friends. You haven’t met a fart joke you didn’t like. After your initial reactions of “Oh my god, that’s GROSS!!!” at all of the, yes, gross jokes in your cards from Auntie Kim, Grandpa, and Uncle Joey (“MOM! They’re ALL…just! ewwwwww!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!”) you dissolved into laughter because it was hilarious. Because you’re a kid. You might have read an entire freakin’ novel last night before bed, but you also rejoiced over your covered wagon Lego set. You’re fabulously, gloriously nine.

And I’ll tell you something else, Gracie – a little secret. It’s you. You are what makes you so fun. What makes life around you so fun and filled with laughter. You are the gamechanger; you are what changes the tempo of any room you are in. You are what changes the mood of any room you walk into. You have this gift, sweetheart, of making us all laugh with you. Okay, yes, and sometimes at you; I confess. You are one of those special people who have this gift to light up the entire world. Absolutely you make my world spin round.

In all the best possible ways.

Happy ninth birthday, Gracie-boo. I love you with everything I have. Always.



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2 Responses to “An open letter to my daughter on her ninth (NINTH!) birthday.”

  1. Jenna Hatfield Says:

    Happy birthday, Grace! WOO TAUREANS!

  2. Kathy Says:

    Happy Birthday Gracie! I hope you had a fabulous day. I love you mom’s letter to you. I think she captures just who you are and how wonderful you are.

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