Friday, July 17, 2015


Dear Ainsley,

I didn't realize this before hand, but apparently eight is a big deal.  When you're a kid birthdays are always a big deal.  Soon, you will snuggle into eight and it will become well worn.  It will be comfortable and you will be itching to be nine.

But as an adult, I am looking at my eight-year-old and realizing that this is one of those times that I will look back on and think, "That was the moment when everything changed."

Maybe I'm being dramatic, but over the last few months there has definitely been a shift.  Your thinking is different, your attitude is changing.  You're maturing and aging and it's like I can see it happening.

Some of it's good, some of it is...difficult.  But you are definitely growing up.  I've seen that happen for eight years, but this past spring it's become very apparent that you will not be a kid forever.  Something that my head knows but my heart is not quite on board with yet.  So we have to take baby steps, because just like you've never been eight, I've never had an eight-year-old and we are navigating these new waters together.  So we give little bits of independence and judgement, then we pull it back when it gets too scary.  I think ear piercing is a good place to start.

You've been begging me for pierced ears for three years.  I originally told you, you had to wait until you were nine.  Why?  Who knows, ask Grandma.  That's when I got my ears pierced, so I figured it was a good age.  But I won't lie...I couldn't wait to buy you little earrings.  So when you begged and pleaded on your seventh birthday I made you a deal.  You show me how responsible you can be and I would take you on your eighth birthday to get it done.  Well, I'm not going to lie and say you were suddenly the poster girl for responsibility, because you so were not!  But I think I wanted your ears pierced as much as you did, so I conceded.

It was a stressful event.  I was so worried for you.  Not about the actual piercing and if you would be allergic or get an infection.  Those are all things we could deal with.  No it was more the way you handled it that ripped me apart.  You were so brave and insistent that you did not want to cry but you were afraid that you would cry. did you get so grown up to have this emotion?  This need to not show your fear and emotion in public.  And you did cry a bit.  You cried before hand out of sheer excitement/fear/anxiety.  But just a tiny bit behind your fists.  Then it happened and you laughed and said "Ow, ow, ow..."  Because it did hurt, but not nearly as bad as you  had imagined.

I have to say, you have impressed me beyond my imagination with the ear hole care.  You can be a bit...dramatic...especially when it comes to injury.  A scrape on the foot needs a homemade cast and crutches in your opinion.  So I was worried that there would be a lot of whining and complaining about turning and cleaning ears.  But not once have you belly ached.  You listened intently to all the instructions and you come and ask me, "Does this one look a little bit red?  Could it be infected?"  You always wash your hands before touching them.  You worry about going swimming.  You clean them every morning and every night without being asked.  So I think we made the right decision.

In the end, they are your ears, part of your body.  And I always want to make it clear that all of those things fall under your power and your decision making.  Not mine.  I hope this is one small step in that direction, and I hope that you let me help you make these decisions the older you get.

I'm so proud of you, Ainsley.  I'm so proud of who you are and all that you do.  I consider myself really lucky to know you, to be a part of your world.  You're going to be great things and I'm glad I get to watch.

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