This is ten
I’ve been a parent for a decade now, and I’ve decided there’s not enough time. There’s not enough time for sports, for school, for Chipotle and climbing walls, taekwondo and junior leader, petting cats and walking dogs; there’s just not enough time. I woke up and suddenly you were ten and I’m not chasing you through the house anymore while you giggle and blindly run into walls. You’re ten.
Things that haven’t changed is your big heart and your kindness. Your guidance councilor stopped me at school to share a story about you a few weeks ago, and I wanted to share it with you now.
When you travelled to another school for Creative Dramatics, you and your classmates were met with a sea of new faces. Everyone had a partner from the other school, and everyone worked together nicely, but then lunch came, and everyone went to their respective corners, as people do.
Except for you.
When Mrs. F asked where her Hartwood students were, they all raised their hands on one side of the room, but there was one hand, in the sea of the other students, and she shouted, “I’m here Mrs. F!”
And it was you.
When I was a kid, I was always told, “Cassie, you’ll never meet a stranger,” and I finally get it now, because I see it in you. You will never meet a stranger, because you welcome everyone as if you’ve known them your whole life. You treat everyone like a friend, and respect them like a loved family member.
That cannot be taught, my daughter.
So while you may be growing up, and you’re in double digits now, I want you to always remember that who you are now won’t change just because you’re getting older. Your heart is big and it’s not something you grow into. I truly believe it’ll just keep growing.
Things that I’m okay with you changing is how rough you brush your hair and how messy you keep your room, but that’s something I can live with. Ask your auntie, I had the messiest room in all of the land. So when I’m yelling at you about how messy it is, just know that I’m basically yelling at 10 year old Cassie. But don’t shove that back in my face, because 32 year old Cassie will just get more upset. She’s annoying.
Times are changing. You are beyond independent, making oatmeal for breakfast, waking on your own at 6 am for 7 am pickup on Wednesdays for orchestra, remembering that Tuesday nights is junior leader, and Monday nights is cello with Will.
But you’re still a kid, which I love, and you happily walk the streets of Oakmont wearing a Clone Trooper helmet (because it’s NOT a Storm Trooper helmet, people, GOSH,) and will happily run through the yard having Nerf battles.
It’s a hard thing, watching childhood slip away, when I can barely remember what you were like as a baby. Remembering those long days when your dad would travel a lot, and you hated sleep. Sitting on the couch watching Regis and Kelly, half awake while you stared at me.
It feels like a lifetime ago.
Remember what I told you a little while ago? I was talking to you about how being a girl is a wonderful thing, but trying at the same time? And I told you that having your black belt won’t change how others treat you, but it does give you that inner strength to defend yourself? It’s all true. There will be a day when someone tells you that you’re not as good as someone else, or they will say you’d be prettier if you just smiled, or lost weight, or wore this or that. And when that day comes, I want you to remember what I told you, do you remember? I said, “If anyone ever tries to tell you that who you are isn’t good enough, you have my full permission to tell them to shove it up their ass. And when I get an angry call from a parent or a principal or teacher, I will absolutely defend you.”
I mean it. I never had the strength to defend myself from degrading comments or casual butt grabs, and I want more for you – for all of my daughters. I want you to be able to look someone in the eye and say, “NO. This is not OK.” Because it’s not OK. It’s your body, it’s your life. People can offer their opinion, but it’s you who gets to decide what to do with it. Always remember to be the strong girl that you are in this very moment. The one who doesn’t care when people giggle as you pass in a costume. The girl who sits with strangers and makes them friends. The person who can walk into a room and leave everyone smiling.
That isn’t ten. That’s Claire.
And I’m so proud that you’re mine.