My darling Ruby,
You are ten years old. TEN. Double digits. It seems so huge, yet you are still so young.
You are an amazing kid. You are smart and so funny and so kind and loving. You spent this school year learning and doing some amazing things. It was your second year at Lewis school in class with Mr. Post. You wrote a story about Shrek and Donkey, did some amazing art and did your 4th grade report on black bears. You take an art class every thursday after school, and art/music are really the places you shine and love so much. You haven't yet grasped reading, but your comprehension is getting more amazing every week. Just this past weekend while we were driving through the mountains you spotted some snow and told us all about how bunnies are brown in the summer, and then in the winter they turn white to camouflage themselves against predators. It just reminded me how you are always listening and (almost) always paying attention. You spent this school year hanging out with your friends Chloe, Shayla, Alex and Lily, and you always talk about Chuck and Ben, Milo and Dash. It makes me so happy that you have so many friends. Augie is still one of your favorite friends, we spent the weekend camping together and you get so giggly and snuggly with each other. Sometimes I think it's a crush, but I'm not ready to think about you having big kid feelings just yet!
You love your sisters with an intense fierceness. You are often very helpful and kind, but sometimes, you torment each other just like I did with my sisters. Before you leave for school (or camp, now that it's summer) each day you kiss each other good bye and say "have a good day!" Every night at bedtime you kiss them good night. You have so much love to share, and I'm so glad you have sisters to share it with. Often Lucy will say to you "We're best friends, right?" and you always say yes.
You are finally learning to love listening to chapter books! You snuggle in and ask over and over "one more chapter!" I really do look forward to you learning to read on your own, but i want to keep reading to you and with you forever, because reading is magic.
You got a new bike this spring! It has two wheels (and training wheels) and has fluorescent RAINBOWS all over it. Lucy chose a matching one and the two of you love riding together. At first you were nervous and REALLY SLOW, and every time you would ride you would say "I like going slow! really slow!" and you would point out every flower and tree and house as you saw the world around you move by at a different pace. But then we went to the school playground and you practiced and practiced and you really took off and had so much more confidence and speed. I have to admit I shed quite a few tears watching you and hearing you say "I'm so proud of myself mama!" I'm so proud of you too sweet pea, so so proud.
We took a trip to Maui again, and you had a wonderful time, as usual. You swam in the ocean, built I Lava You sand castles, practiced boogie boarding, jumped in the pool doing CANNONBALLS so many times. It really is your happy place. (mine too!)
Every Tuesday, Catherine and Cormac and Flannery come over for Taco Tuesday. It's always a good time, and most of the time you all end up in your matching pjs jumping off the beds. And we eat tacos. Speaking of tacos, you are a great eater, and even trying new things. Currently your favorite things are fish and broccoli. A far cry from the kid that only ate rice and beans (separately) a few years ago.
You love being outside and exploring nature. You can spot a bird or a slug before anyone else, and love pointing out all the flowers and trees on every hike or walk we take. Your cousins came to visit from Michigan and we spent many days having nature adventures and urban adventures! You also went on nature walks with your Nana, saving downed rhodies in a basket. We went on a fantastic camping trip as a family, and then on another with Augie and lots of other autism kids.
You are so funny and silly and you love to laugh and make others laugh. Sometimes I see glimpses of who you will be when you are grown up, and it's amazing and heartbreaking because in my head you are still that tiny little giggling 3 year old wearing your dads socks as pants. Your pretend play has gotten so amazing. You build scenes, and create houses and cities in big boxes and then play with your ponies, or little pets in them for weeks. It's always amazing to listen to you playing like that.
Your cousin Kelcie married Max last summer, and you and Lucy were in the wedding! You were the glitter fairies (instead of flower girls) and you had so much fun. You don't normally like dressing up in dresses and fancy stuff, but you endured it for the wedding and looked so cute.
You are starting to grow up. as much as your daddy doesn't want to admit it. Little by little your face and body are changing and you look less like a little kid and more like an adolescent.
You are also starting to notice when you are different from others. This can be very hard and heartbreaking for both of us. When you can't have something because of your allergies, you often get really sad and sometimes embarrassed. I understand because i have the same allergies as you. However most of the time you work through it and are ok with not having the same thing as other people. You are such a smart kid. When you started summer camp this week you made sure to tell your camp counselors that you can't have MILK and EGGS and GLUTEN. I love how you are becoming such a good self advocate.
My sweet darling Ruby, I cannot believe you are TEN. Ten years ago you filled a huge hole in my heart and made me a mama, and then little by little you made me a mama bear, learning to stand up for you, to fight for your needs and to make a place for you in this world that is safe and happy. You fill me with joy every day, even on the hardest days. I love you more than words could ever express and am so very thankful you chose me for your mama.
All of my love, and all of my heart, Mama.