Happy happy 10th birthday, my love! Happy double digits! Happy first decade to my favorite girl.
Several years ago you coined the phrase “birthday season,” reasoning that birthdays should be celebrated on more than just one day. We are now in the midst of your 10th birthday season, and the celebrations began earlier this month when we were still in Costa Rica. You wanted a birthday party that would include all your Costa Rican friends, even though we’d be back in Savannah when your actual birthday rolled around.
So we invited buddies to our house in the beginning of July to celebrate with you. It’s fun to see what gifts people come up with when there is no mall or Toys R Us or Target nearby. You nearly fainted upon receiving a package of chocolates. Your friends know how much you love bracelets, so they bought you some from beachside vendors, or made jewelry for you by hand. You love them all.
Your last weeks as a 9 year old and your last weeks as a temporary tica were full to overflowing. The memory-making was rich.
There was the time you and your Daddy joined me to volunteer at SIBU Sanctuary. You helped cut fruit, prepare and deliver plates, and clean the kitchen. You LOVED being surrounded by monkeys.
When we left Costa Rica, you had a favorite red fleece blanket to leave behind, and you wanted to give it to the monkeys. I think they were appreciative.
You went zip-lining – SOARING high above the jungle canopy along 13 different zip lines. We were only about 20 minutes outside of town, but from our vantage point in the hills we couldn’t see another house or human being as we flew over the treetops. We felt deliciously wild and free.
Your music teacher asked you to be part of a musical trio performing during the school graduation ceremony. You practiced your viola, learning a harmony part to the song “Imagine,” and also performing several solo pieces as introductory music for the gathering crowd. Your poise was outstanding, and you played your instrument beautifully.
Just a day or two before our departure, we paused our packing and purging to go exploring a cave with friends. This particular cave is only accessible during a negative low tide, and even then required wading to reach it. But our efforts were rewarded with screeching bats and fascinating rock formations.
Then it was time for the trip home. I remember this time last year – when you did NOT want to go to Costa Rica – it was my hope that the trip home would be bittersweet. That you would be excited to return to Savannah, but also sad to leave the people and places you’d grown to love. And this was indeed the case.
There were many simple delights awaiting us when we finally arrived at Boo’s house. After a long day of travel and then a blessed night of sleeping (in air conditioning!!), you enjoyed a breakfast of cheese grits, and some Boo time on the couch surrounded by some of your favorite stuffies.
That first week back you had a playdate with Lola and a sleepover with Taylor.
Then Nana and Granddaddy came down from Tennessee to celebrate your actual birthday. We visited the aquarium and strolled along the gorgeous marshes of Skidaway Island, followed by birthday cake and presents.
Today, a few days later, you were in your room enjoying some of your new gifts and I had a giggle, thinking about you as my hipster 10 year old. A snapshot of a moment in time, age 10:
- listening to Jesus Christ Superstar (London cast) on vinyl on your new record player
- new essential oils diffuser wafting citrus and lemongrass scents into the air
- Instead of a tea party, you invite me to join the boiled peanut party you are having with your Gigi stuffed animal – a favorite character from a beloved Miyazaki film.
I gladly joined the two of you on the floor to bond over some peanuts.
What an amazing year we’ve had. What an incredible decade. I love you more than you could ever know, and I’m so thankful to be your mama.