Happy 9th Birthday to you, London – the middle finger of our family, as you once mistakenly said, and it stuck.
London, you’ve always been quirky, and funny, and easy to be around.When people first meet you, they think you’re shy and introverted but they quickly learn that you’re the life of every party. You’re smart and witty and empathetic.
As a toddler, you slept like you had jumped out of an airplane and landed, splat, face down. In the early days of getting to know you, I remember thinking as I stared down at this curly-headed paratrooper, that even as you slept, you looked brave.
You still sleep next to your precious “Bear Bear” who has been in every family photo since your dad and I got married, including the ones taken on our wedding day. You carry him around when you need him and are unapologetic, even to your brother’s preteen friends. You are confident in who you are and what makes you happy.
Recently you auditioned for a summer musical. In the days leading up to the audition you had some angst over the process, and the performance expectations.
“Do you want to just help out backstage?” I asked.
“Yes, can you ask if I can do that?” So I did.
You went to the audition and ended up singing a solo when it was your turn. Despite surviving that experience, you told me immediately “I still just want to be a stage manager or something.”
I came to pick you up from that first rehearsal and you ran up to me excitedly and asked: “Can I stay for the next rehearsal?” You were referencing “cast two” or the older kids, some teenagers, who were getting ready to practice. Before I could answer, you spun on your heels and walked back to the director and asked her, confidently, if you could stay and help with the second cast. She excitedly agreed. A few rehearsals later I saw you singing and dancing with your peers in a large group number.
“Are you just out there helping as stage manager?” I asked.
“No, I’m singing and dancing now too. I’m doing both things.”
London, my kid who cusses at home pretty regularly, then quickly reminds me that I told her it’s okay to do (just not in public).
London, my kid who is often slow to speak but has a lot to say once she gets rolling.
London, my kid who asks me regularly to plan a trip to New York City, just the two of us.
London, my baby and puppy whisperer – the kid my friends ask when she’ll be old enough to babysit their little ones.
London, the little girl I didn’t birth but who I can’t imagine a world — my own world — without.
I look forward to this last year in the single digits and seeing what surprises you have in store for us as you continue to grow up.
Happy Birthday London – you make my life fuller by being in it.
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