An Open Letter to my 10 Year Old Daughter: Happy Birthday!
I’m running a bit late with your annual birthday letter as we have been way too busy having fun for me to sit down and write this to you. Every year I write an open letter to you and your sister on your birthdays (here are the letters from your previous birthdays: 7th birthday, 8th birthday, 9th birthday), as I know I’ll never remember all the little details of these weeks, months and years with you as children, so I hope it’s a way for me to remember and for you to know what life was like when you were little.
This year has got to have been the biggest one yet in your 10 years on this planet. This year you started school in Mauritius, which happens to be a new country and continent for you. Not only that but you started in one class (Year 4), jumped to a new class within a couple of weeks (Year 5) and then after two terms moved to a whole new school, with new friends, teachers and in a new town. Whilst you are thriving at your new school, and this was definitely the best decision for you (despite it being a very hard one to make), it has come with its own set of new obstacles to be tackled; you now get the school bus to and from school – giving you an extra level of independence. But this also means an incredibly early start for you. To think that when we were in London you were leaving the house at 8.55am to go to school, now you have to be ready to go by 7.10am! No mean feat for a night owl like you 😉
I won’t lie, the early starts have been hard for both of us. You HATE early mornings, and your early start makes my work day trickier as I can no longer get work done between 6 and 7am. But we’re getting there, and it’s so lovely to see how happy you are in your new school, the great friends you’ve made and the progress you continue to make. I couldn’t be prouder of you in how you’ve handled all this change.
Age 9-10 also saw you starting a whole new hobby, or rather two new hobbies – horse-riding and vaulting (basically gymnastics on moving full size horses!). When we were in London you would go on and on about how you wanted to do horse-riding, well this year your dream came true, and you were even able to combine your love of climbing / gymnastics with your love of horses through this sport. You are an absolute natural and I had to fight back tears of pride and love when I watched you win your first ever competition, just 3 months after starting vaulting.
I have watched you change and grow this past year, from a strong little girl, into an even stronger middle-sized girl and I can start to see the teenager and woman you are becoming. You have a strong sense of right and wrong, and don’t like to see people being treated badly. I love that you come with me to help out with the local NGO that is dealing with people living in poverty near us, and that you take the time to chat and read to the children, treating them like friends.
As you get older our hugs become more important, if less frequent. They are more important to me as I don’t know how much longer I’ll have them for. They are more important for you as you hug me when you need or want comfort, reassurance, love and security, rather than the constant hugs of a younger you. We talk and talk about more and more important things. We talk about how your body will start to change soon, as you go through puberty. We talk about your hopes, dreams and goals for the future, along with what you think you might like to do when you’re older.
It’s brilliant that your reading has come on in such leaps and bounds, so that we can talk about books we’ve both read and loved – books like The Hunger Games, Divergent and more. I love watching you get lost in a good book – there’s nothing more satisfying as a book worm than discovering a fellow book worm to talk about books to 🙂
Reading your creative writing absolutely blows me away! If I didn’t know better I’d say I was reading an adult’s writing – your extensive reading pays off when you put pen to paper, as the rich vocabulary and imagination spills from your mind onto the paper. I love that you don’t think twice about taking yourself off to your room for the afternoon to write a story.
Just over 4 years ago, right before you turned 6, your time as an only child came to an end when we presented you with a younger sister. It never ceases to amaze me the love you have for her, the time you spend entertaining her, helping me with her and playing with her. Seeing you together makes my heart burst with love. There might be a 6 year age gap between the two of you but you really are best buddies and I’ve loved watching your relationship develop over this year. I’m pretty certain that Clémence couldn’t ask for a better big sister and I know that she thinks the world of you.
Whilst you drive me absolutely demented at times (time management, room tidiness, listening / lack of listening!), you are one of the most amazing children I know and I love you more and more every day, and could not feel prouder of you.
Keep being you, keep being courageous and strong. Know that you have NO limits, the world is your oyster and you can do and be whoever and whatever you want, as well as living wherever you want. There is ALWAYS a way.
I love you so much my crazy, funny, clever, strong, brave, beautiful first baby. I’m so glad we got to have such a fab birthday with you again this year 🙂