I asked Eloise for a hug goodbye when I dropped her at a slumber party last night. I asked her for this hug especially because when she wakes up, not in our home, on December 2nd today and turns 10, well I won’t be there to hug her and tell her happy birthday.
She did not give me that hug. She rolled her eyes at me and said “Oh Mom, really.” And then she turned back to her friends and they started giggling about something that I had no clue about, so I just said goodbye to the parents, turned my back and walked out the door.
Now don’t think that Eloise was rude for not giving me that hug. Eloise is not my hugger. Not my cuddler. Not my lover. She’s one of the most kind and generous and lovely kids I know but she’s not known for her displays of affection. She wasn’t a baby who wanted that human touch, she wasn’t a lap sitter and didn’t love to be carried places. She slept best in her swing or in her bed…not in my arms or a sling. She ducks when I go to wrap my arms around her and if I put my hand gently on her back she usually doesn’t hesitate to remove it. But she reciprocates ‘I love yous’ and lets her baby sister on her lap and will always carry her everywhere she so desires.
So what I’m trying to say here is that Eloise is her own person and I respect that. When I thought about what I would write that would capture my feelings about having a 10 year old, or what I think it’s like being 10, or what I think a 10 year old should know…well it seemed trite and forced and admittedly just wrong, because honestly the biggest thing I want you to know about a 10 year old is that they are their own person, with their own desires, likes, wants, emotions, bodies and minds. And I have no need to put words into what I want my 10 year old to know except I want her to know that I love her. Without fail. 24 hours a day. With or without hugs.
Instead. I want you to truly just know Eloise. I asked Eloise if she wanted to write something here about turning 10 or if there was something she wanted you to know specifically about her that would truly tell you who she is.
And she said “I want them to know about my favorite books and authors because I think that truly tells a lot about a person.” So she made me this list and told me that this was all you needed to know.
She is also a girl of very few words, will never seek to be the center of attention and you will rarely find her without her nose in a book. Also, she wear a panda hat as much as she can.
And then I cried. I actually felt sorry for myself because this 10 year old girl is already so much more than I was at 10. This girl here. She’s the one who in second grade returned to me all of my Judy Blume books, my Nancy Drew books, my Little House On The Prairie books, my Anne of Green Gables, and my Secret Gardens and told me that she read them all and they were just kind of ‘meh.’ So I boxed my childhood back up and put it back into the attic. I packed away my childhood of books that I had held onto for 35 years convinced that I would share them with my daughter and together we would have this moment that I created in my mind.
I found out that day that moments cannot be created and staged. My 10 year old, my eldest, my girl that made me a mother has taught me that moments are what happen when you are just living life and truly listening to your children. They are not made from reading Blubber for the 455th time and convincing your child why they should appreciate it too.
Without further ado – Eloise’s lists…
Series of Unfortunate Events series
Because of Winn Dixie
The Tale of Despereaux
The Tiger Rising
The Magicians Elephant
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Hunger Games trilogy
Island of the Blue Dolphin
In Search of Mockingbird
In a Heartbeat
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Rules for Secret Keeping
Allie Finkel’s Rules for Girls series
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel
Favorite Authors(Including poets):
(Then I had to go Google half of these….Go ahead..I know you are now doing it too. I’ll wait…)
Happy Birthday Eloise. You are easily one of the most special people in all the world. And you are not just special because you’re my daughter and I cannot help but feel this way about you. You are special because you are just so simply and beautifully Eloise. Oh, and you are 10! 10!!!
Love you for always,
Oh..and a little 49 second clip of the new 10 year old. She would love for you to take the time to watch and to wish her a Happy Birthday. Thank you!