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Anya’s 10th Birthday Letter

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Current Music: the kids playing video games together

Happy 10th Birthday, Anya!

You are becoming a preteen, but you understand the responsibility that comes with getting older, so you are perfectly happy to put off drama and boys for a later date and stay a kid as long as you can. I won’t pretend I’m not grateful for your wisdom that ironically helps you make more mature decisions, and I’m always so proud to hear how steadfast you are in your interests and beliefs no matter what your peers do to belittle them in the name of appearing more grown up. You don’t understand their rush, and I am so very glad that you feel comfortable talking to me about everything and discussing our opinions on how to handle social pressures and whether something is actually appropriate for your age.

Despite having to have some conversations about what growing up has in store for you, you have somehow maintained a youthful innocence that I adore. You believe in magic. You unashamedly love everything pink and sparkly, princesses and unicorns, playing dress up, watching Sailor Moon with me, and creating fairytales of your own. You have aspirations in the arts, especially dance, music, and storytelling, and have developed a recent fascination with mythology and astronomy that reminds me of my own middle school years. You are my mini me in so many ways, and it’s humbling and comforting to know that you are proud of that.

I hope you will never be afraid to talk to me, to ask your questions and tell me your views. Sometimes you blow me away with your observations about our Christian faith and the way the world works. You wear our shared Asperger’s diagnosis like a badge of honor, and I’m thankful that somehow I’ve done enough of this parenting thing right to give you a firm foundation in your sense of self that took me decades to even begin to achieve.

Don’t let anyone dim your light; the world will be a better place because you dare to dream and shine even against the bleakest darkness. Be exactly who you are, always, magic and all. We love you and are so proud of the young lady you are becoming. Happy Birthday. 💖🦄👑

Anya’s 9th Birthday Letter

Happy 9th Birthday, Anya!

I can’t believe it’s your last year in the single digits. You have such big dreams, and it never occurs to you – not even once – they may not come true. You happily spend hours of your Saturday every week at the dance studio, and you practice piano diligently, never trying to get out of it or cut down the number of times you play each song. You live for music, dance, and every art form you can get your hands on.

You are so much like me at your age in that way. Your love for all things princess, magic, and sparkle has been lifelong. You are a diva through and through, in the best possible way. You love anything Barbie and can never have enough pink or glitter. You don’t let what other girls your age like or dislike define what you surround yourself with, and you love your brother and sister fiercely, never embarrassed to play with them or enjoy the things they love with them.

You excel in your homeschool work and read through novels like it’s nothing. You have come so far with your fears and struggles the last couple of years, and I am so proud of you for talking yourself through trying new things and foods, determined not to let Asperger’s hold you back from those things which anxiety can make difficult. You will use the gifts being on the spectrum has given you and continue to overcome the obstacles in order to be the best possible version of yourself, of that I have no doubt. You may have to work harder than the neurotypical girls to get your muscles and movements to cooperate, but I know you will never stop fighting to be the professional ballerina you dream of becoming.

Our home will forever be filled with Nutcracker music, and the look of joy on your face when you are on stage doing what you love will always be one of my favorite things. I am so proud of you, each and every day. Even when it’s hard. Even when we argue because we are too much alike. Even when we disagree because of the ways we are different. You are the little girl who made me a mother, and I love watching you grow into a smart, beautiful, creative, dedicated, and nurturing young woman as the bittersweet years race by. Hope you feel like a princess today. We love you! 💕

Anya’s 5th Birthday Letter

Happy 5th Birthday to my beautiful and amazing daughter Anya! I cannot believe you are 5 years old already. But here you are, in kindergarten and reading on your own, wanting to pick out your own clothes, insisting that the only acceptable adjective to describe anything is “pretty beautiful”, and loving any reason to dance, sing, or throw a party. You remind me of a mixture of two of your favorite TV show characters: Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba! and Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. And maybe all that slightly spastic joy over the little things and the high pitched voice you use when speaking to babies would annoy the bajeezus out of some people, but I find it all to be endearing and a symptom of the rose colored glasses through which you view the World around you.

I hope you never lose that joy and optimism that everyone can be the best of friends and every day holds at least one reason to shout hooray and jump up and down giggling with glee. There are people that will try to take that from you, but I know that you’re stubborn enough to make it hard for them. You’re my little diva who always wants to be the star of the show but would never deny anyone the chance to be the star of their own or to share in yours if they are without. You are the only kid I know who at 3 years old was excited to pick out gifts for other children’s parties and sit to watch as they opened presents, anxiously waiting with a smile to see if they liked what you chose. You still do that, and I love it so much. It makes me feel like despite the days we deal with tantrums and moments of entitlement from the excess we sometimes give you, that somewhere along the way we are doing something right.

You walk up to kids you’ve never met in the store and offer them one of the toys you are carrying to play with and ask if they want to play together. You light up like nothing I’ve ever seen when it’s time to go out on stage for one of your ballet recitals, and I know that love is something you’re going to carry for a long time. You love your baby sister so much it’s almost too much sometimes, and you never want to leave her alone or stop playing with her so she can take a nap. You are equally Daddy’s girl and mine and love to spend time with both of us making memories whether it’s watching Pokemon with Daddy or baking in the kitchen with me.

You love going to the movies and having popcorn and M&M’s, riding in public transportation like trains and trolleys, and anything dessert even stuff I wouldn’t have touched as a kid that has almonds or peanuts in it. You can hardly be considered picky anymore as you’ve decided in the past year to be a “big girl” and now eat several green vegetables including spinach and broccoli – even requesting seconds of the latter. You’ve branched out to soup, bacon, mashed potatoes, rice, and more that I thought you would never touch.

I’m so proud of the big girl you’ve become as I watch you grow more determined to succeed at everything you do no matter how small or large the task. You’re going to do great things one day because you won’t take “no” or “it’s too difficult” for an answer. As far as you’re concerned, you can do it all. Even be a “ballerina princess queen mommy fireman” when you grow up. And it won’t surprise me the least when somehow you do. Mommy and Daddy love you so very much, Anya. Stay hopeful, confident, and loving towards others. You’re amazing in everything you do. Happy Birthday, my first baby girl.

Anya’s 4th Birthday Letter

I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since you came into our lives and filled mine with a joy and purpose I could have never fathomed, and yet at the same time it feels like you’ve always been here. Being your mother is my true calling and one I am proud to fulfill each and every day as I guide you along the way to becoming the person you are meant to be. You’re the best, little girl. Don’t know what I’d do without you and the happiness you bring to each and every moment of my daily life. Happy 4th Birthday, Anya! Mommy and Daddy love you so much.

Anya’s 3rd Birthday Letter

Happy 3rd Birthday to my darling little girl! I can’t believe you’re already so big, but I love your independence, your creativity, and your spirit…even when it causes us to butt heads because I know it will serve you well in the future. You are the light of my life, and I don’t know how I ever enjoyed a moment before you were here and filling the silence with your song and laughter. You are simply amazing in every little thing you do, and I can’t say I love you enough to express how my heart surges with joy just watching you play and discover and grow. Happy Birthday, Anya! Mommy and Daddy love you so very much.