Sophia, age 9

Today, I knew I wanted to write and I had about seven topics I wanted to write about- everything from catching you up to speed on my restarting roller derby, to deep and profound proclamations of my undying love to my Valentine, to a rundown of how last night played out. Actually, I will still give ya a quick recap on that–Wifey loved her gift. LOVED. I also loved mine and we were totally on the same page getting completely unique gifts from localish artists. She gave me a gorgeous handmade, handwrapped bronze and rhodochrosite necklace. We managed to get all the Valentine’s and birthday prep work handled and Garrett made sure to not let little things like Valentine’s Day and a boyfriend get in the way of his usual, after-school Netflix time with Madi. We aren’t too worried about her having a date in her bedroom. Privacy isn’t really in her future anyway.

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These are all great topics that I’m sure I can come back to, but for today, the birthday of my first born, let’s focus on this girl. Disclaimer: it’s gonna get real here. I could go on and on about his daughter of mine for hours. That’s been the case every year of her life, and this year is no different. Maybe you remember this kid from here (when she got suspended), here (7th birthday post), or even here (on letting toddler Soph dress herself).

This child has always been the most intriguing and wild mix of spirited and sensitive I have encountered of any human at any age. She’s a bold empath and not someone I was prepared to raise. I often worry that I’m simply not qualified to raise her correctly. I’m too scattered. Too impatient. I hold her to high standards, but then don’t always recognize when all she really needs is a hug. Her worst feeling in this whole wide world is feeling like a disappointment. I never, ever mean to make her feel like that. But I also don’t sugarcoat things, nor am I as sensitive as I need to be. I simply can be at a loss to appropriately and gently guide her through this life. I was raised in a “spare the rod, spoil the child” home. I was not raised to sort feelings and emotions and as much as I personally need that, it’s still hard to convey to her how to do that effectively. This year we hit new trials.

Through 2018 Sophia has been bullied & threatened at school, gone through major life changes with her dad (new gf, moving in, and then getting engaged), and of course balanced that with the usual struggles of having divorced parents in separate towns, a whirlwind of a little brother and two older step siblings, and growing up in a lesbian household in North Idaho.

With all that thrown out there you may think we’ve had a horrid, tumultuous year. Not at all. I’m more concerned it’s slowly breaking her spirit. Like she is getting way too old, way too soon. Yet, here she is, shining bright like a diamond most days. Flourishing in hip-hop dance, thriving in having finally found a theater and been cast in a musical, doing incredibly well this semester in school. Reading. Playing. Making new friends and having guests, and even an occasional sleepover. Working her own sense of style. Dabbling in makeup. For the most part, just doing her thang.

She is my pride and joy. She is an inspiration, but also a frustration. All I want is to effectively let her blossom into who she should be, safely, kindly, and thoughtfully. I want her to be kind, responsible, bold, and smart. And she is. I just don’t want any of that to get lost as the world weighs on her. I want 9 to be her best year ever. I want her to be her best. I want to be the mom she needs, even when I am not sure how. I want her to continue her performing arts as they provide her sense of community, creative outlet, and the attention she craves. I want her to keep using her imagination whether playing baby dolls in her room on the floor, or mastering shimmer eyeshadow in the mirror.

I guess, I just want to get this right for her. My heart gets heavy when I think of all the times I have lost my temper after asking her for the tenth time to really clean her room. Or when I snap at her for snapping at her brother. She bounces back to life of course, but I know each time leaves a little scar and a tiny piece of her free spirit has been reshaped.

But I’ve also seen her sparkle shine brighter than ever in these last few months. I’ve seen her rock a microphone like she owned it. I’ve seen her frolic with puppies, build some really powerful relationships, and come into her own on stage. Her “fash” is certainly detouring from what I’d pick for her, but goddammit I bought the absurd, nineties-esque, over-sized Tweety Bird hoodie and could bask in the glow of her delight for days.

Here’s to you, my Sophia, Valentine Baby. I’m ready to make 9 be your most incredible year yet.

 

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Happy 7th Birthday, Valentine’s Baby

If you happened upon this post, or caught a bit of subtext in some others, or hell, if you happen to actually know me in real life, you know this year hasn’t always been the very best for my S. Since before that child was born *60 hours of labor, cough, cough*, she has been stubborn and willful and the kind of gal that marches to the beat of her own bongo. See here for some toddler reference.

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In the last couple of months there has been an incredible transformation. Sure, she’s still strong and willful and a bit on the stubborn side, but there is no more “clipping all the way down” almost weekly and landing in the counselors or principal’s office. Almost daily she is “clipping up” to “Role Model,” acting as student of the week, bringing home awards, and behaving in such a way that leads to mommy-happy-tears emails from her teacher. She tries to help out, assists with her annoying little brother and, I swear to god, even her room is clean. (Sure, I did most of it, but she’s maintaining it.)

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She has grown from an irritable, emotional, adjusting and sometimes violent level of strong and bold, to a more patient, responsible, accountable brand of strength. She hugs me and tells me she loves me every day. She astounds me academically, especially in math and science. Her passion for animals has never wavered. She sings and dances all around and gives zero fucks about being any kind of a princess in itchy dresses. She is one of the most balanced and awesome girls this earth has been blessed with.

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I can genuinely say I both admire and envy her. At SEVEN years old she has more backbone than I did at …. Shit. At least 23 or so. Her beauty is exterior in her cute, half toothless grin, chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. But her true beauty, what makes her most fascinating is her beautiful soul. I’m glad I had her when I did, and I’m glad I’ve reached a point in my life where I can be stong enough to raise a woman as strong as she. I never want to hinder her from the greatness I know she will find. I never want to cloud the pure sunshine in her heart. I never want to let her down. I know she leads me just as much as I lead her and I can’t wait to see where this next year of her life leads the both of us.

This morning, all six of us were up extra early to celebrate another year of this girl. We dined on fine chocolate chip muffins, strawberries and sparkling cider in plastic eyeglasses sniffing scented pencils. It was honestly great. I mean, sure, the moms throwing sack lunches together as fast as humanly possible while chugging coffee and water equally after too much the night prior. But that’s us. That’s our beautiful life and I know my baby girl seven year old genuinely enjoyed her quickly family’s cheers to her, AM celebration. Next up: Nachos, a “horse cake,” and headache-inducing karaoke.

Happy birthday, my Valentine’s Baby. I love you forever and I like you for always.

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