Oct 1, 2012

The Cheetah Girl is 11!

Last night, after you were asleep, I climbed into bed with you and just snuggled with you and those crazy, long limbs of yours. I just kept thinking of when you were a baby, a toddler, a LITTLE girl, and you would fit so perfectly right against me--with your legs curled up, and your back against my belly. Now, we're nearly identically aligned. My nose nestles in your hair, your shoulders are on my chest, and our legs are like grapevines--weaved in and out with each other. But still...you are my baby.

You have a spot right above your ear, that still smells like baby goodness. If I close my eyes tight, and think hard enough, I can still pretend that your hair is a mess of bouncing curls, that the hand holding mine is chubby and tiny (rather than thin and graceful) and that i'm fighting for bedspace with your "guys"--Pooh, Mr. Bun, and Duma. Funny enough, the 'guys' still have a special place in your bed--up by your head on their own pillow. They're such a staple, that I doubt they'll ever leave; I hope they don't. When you climb into bed at night, everything is still the same. The ONLY thing that has changed is you.
You are tall, willowy, limby, and beyond lovely. At a new 11, you are catching up to me quick--I give you one more year, and i'm sure you'll be taller than me. Even this morning, as I was making coffee and you came burrowing yourself into my arms, I realized that these days--these days where I am the taller of the two of us--are numbered. The days where I can still wrap my arms around you and feel like I am completely protecting you--are numbered. And, in all honesty, and for lack of a better word, it sucks. It makes my eyes well up with tears and a lump grows in my throat. Why? I'm not sure. I'm so proud of you and what you have become--who you are. I am so excited for your future and how you will mold it into what you want and believe. So, ultimately, I guess it makes me sad that you're growing. But, for all the times I want to stack bricks on your head to keep you small, even more than that, I want to shout out how amazing and wonderful you are. How brilliantly smart you are, how dumbfoundingly talented you are... It's a Catch-22, Love. I want you to grow, yet I want you to remain small. So, forgive me. Forgive me for pulling you into my lap. Forgive me for covering that precious and precocious face with a million kisses. Forgive me for still hugging you tight and breathing you in until my lungs can hold no more. And forgive me for forever--because forever is a long, long time--but that's how long you'll be my baby.

At 11, you are (still) quirky and silly, and at the moment, talk about 2 things: Cheetahs and Monster High. You're socially quirky--unless, of course, the topic of discussion is cheetahs or Monster High. Sometimes, you're a little out-of-control--particularly, when you're excited. Over the past year, you've started to question yourself. You started asking me, "Why am I different?" I just tell you, "Because your brain works differently than others." The way you compute things is just...different. To be honest, I wish my brain worked like yours. You have noticed that you're not like your peers. You've noticed that you're not interested in the same things. You've also noticed, unfortunately, that kids are now calling out your differences. And to that, your family says, "SO WHAT." You are, what the medical community calls, an 'intellectual badass.' Okay, maybe they don't use THAT specific term... We love you just the way you are: Quirky and cheetah-crazy. If you want to sit and play with your Monster High dolls for hours, do it. If you want to sit and draw for an entire weekend, then by all means, get all over it. You're an amazing kid, and we embrace you in all your "freakishly fabulousness." (Did you catch that Monster High reference? You're going to love that.) I guess what it boils down to is this: You are awesome. We love you for YOU. Not what your doctor labels you as, not what other people say you are--for YOU. Everything about you. We love YOU.

You, my Jenna, are everything I always wished for and hoped for in a daughter. You amaze me, you make me smile, you make me shake my head in disbelief, and you make me crazy. But those 'crazy' days are worth it, just to be your mom. I am so very proud to be your mommy. Happy 11th birthday, my crazy, quirky, cheetah girl.

I love you all the stars (and all the spots),

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