It’s rather daunting to start writing about anything other than the proverbial giant elephant standing in the room every time I log in to this here space . . . or, rather, the literal elephant standing in the pictures of the epic trip I absolutely must write about . . . but the top tips for taking four kids around the world and highlights of halfway homeschooling through Southeast Asia will have to wait for another day because today? Today is all about the birthday girl!

Magically, while I was busy blinking or something like that, my first baby turned nine. NINE. One more year until double digits and then she’ll be asking to borrow the car, go out on dates and wear my fancy earrings. And I cannot even handle the thought of how quickly college tours are going to loom around the corner. We just won’t talk about all that right now.

She’s sweet as pie, as caring as a mother, smarter than any whip you’ll ever find, loyal to the bitter end . . . and has a streak of sass a mile wide. I fear the bruises she and I are going to find upon our heads once we hit the next couple of years. Along side that fear though, I see the girl she’s growing into and she makes me proud every day with her thirst for knowledge, grasp for understanding all the unknowns, and desire to be her own unique personality. She stays up far too late reading books that are far above her grade, busts out vocabulary words that I have only used a handful of times in my life, and can find the winning loophole in any argument. She’s crafty and sneaky, beautiful and wonderful, infuriating and amazing . . . and I hope and pray that, as the years go by and details get fuzzy,  I can remember her as this sincere, freckle-faced, long-legged nine year old that begs for independence but still climbs in my bed to cuddle in the mornings.

Here’s to the stack of books she gleefully unwrapped and the new, cooler wardrobe she’s planning to buy with her gift cards. Here’s to still playing with the legos and dolls her siblings picked out, while dreaming of the perfect accessories to match with that wardrobe. Here’s to birthday dinners of scallops and sashimi and calamari, and blowing out the candles on a rainbow sprinkled ice cream cake. Here’s to nine, and all the joy that comes with it.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Miss E!