I'm going to cry through this whole thing. Just have to warn you now. It's a side effect of being a sap.
10 years... How? I'm so overwhelmed by how quickly you've grown Hailey. It both shatters my heart and fills me with pride in the same moment (weird mom thing... you'll understand someday)
You decided to make us into a family well before my "5 year plan", and while I cried in fear at the time, I don't think I could have fathomed the love and joy you would bring into our lives... into everyone's lives. Any time I question anything in my life- any "why me?" or trial- I just look at you, my sweet girl, and I am reminded how much good there is in our life.
You were the beginning of it all for us. You taught us how little sleep we could live on, how much crying we could actually tolerate (Your poor little colicky tummy), how little we knew about adulting, and how very little we knew about our capacity to love before you were in our arms.
Hailey, when they say someone can light up a room, they're talking about you. You bring light and joy with you everywhere you go- it radiates from your soul. I pray every day that teenage years (that are approaching far too quickly for my comfort) don't try to rob you of that.
Today, we say goodbye to single digits. I didn't imagine how hard it would be for me - to recognize we are coming to a place where our relationship is going to change, that we are coming to a place where our years of being with you every day are less than more. I just want to keep you! Yet, in that same breath, the excitement I feel for you and the years ahead is just as overwhelming. (Again, weird mom thing)
I love watching your relationships with friends blossom. I love the crazy plans you make together (winter dog wash... no.) - but most of all I love the ease you have with each other. You do you. They do them- and none of you feel the need to be anything else. My hope for you is that your friendships can always stay this way, and that you never compromise yourself in an effort to "fit". There will be people who love you and see the amazing that is you and won't ask you to change it.
Your love for volleyball inspires me. You've worked through so many hard things- and even if you might have wanted to give up, you never said a word and kept going. Your dedication through those moments is going to last a lifetime- and I am so crazy proud of you. You achieve a goal and you keep on trucking to the next. I want to be more like you. I am so glad you have that to share with your Daddy, and hopefully will also have to share with at least one of your siblings. It's been so cool to watch your relationship with daddy grow this year.
Thank you for being so amazing. I know there will be times in your life that you might make choices that aren't super, and that's okay. We will be here for you. It's part of growing up! Thank you for loving your siblings so much. I know they make you crazy sometimes, but I also know you love them dearly. Thank you for always having a heart for service. Sometimes when I tell you not to help, it's because I want you to savor being a kid. It's okay not to grow up too fast. You'll look back and wish you were 10 again someday. Thank you for loving us despite being the oldest (a.k.a. tester child) as we navigate the craziness that is parenting all you little personalities. Thank you for conversations, and always wanting to fill me in on every part of your day. Thank you for giggles and our silly jokes. Thank you for still holding my hand in the car, and for only rolling your eyes at me when I'm being EXTRA nerdy.
10... a whole decade. I am so proud of you Hailey. I love you.