It’s been such an incredible decade with you Ari. Filled with triumphs, failures, self-discovery and joy, among a few. You’re such a beautiful young girl. I wish life were as simple and beautiful as the day I photographed you…but they won’t be. They aren’t quite beautiful at the moment. I’m trying so hard to keep that smile on your face, the joy in your eyes. You’re growing so fast, its hard for me to keep up. I still view you as that 5 year old that would laugh till it hurt when I would tickle you. Soon you’ll be too embarrassed to have me around your friends. So I have to cherish each moment you ask me to tuck you in, each time you need help reaching the kitchen cabinets, each time you need help with homework. You’ll feel too grown for my help soon enough. But you will need me. And I’ll be there for you.
You’re more talented than you give yourself credit for. You’re also quick to give up…just like me. You’ve inherited all of the worse things about me…and I’m so sorry for that. But you have incredible qualities that leave me in awe of you. How quickly you can make friends. Kids just seem to gravitate towards you, even the boys.lol You possess leadership qualities that can be quite useful later on. Life is not going to get easier. You’ve been through alot emotionally already, more than most kids your age, which will only toughen you up for future obstacles. Your faults will never outweigh your strengths. As long as you have your family around, you will never have to face difficulties on your own. You’re quite a lucky little lady to have so many loving people in your life. And no matter what choices you make later on, I’ll be your biggest champion.
So as you say goodbye to nine, symbolized by the balloons you released, don’t say goodbye to that kind-hearted girl we all love and cherish. Don’t say goodbye to the goofy side of you. Don’t say goodbye to the girl that likes hanging out with her grandmother. Don’t say goodbye to me. I want you to always need me. There’s no worse feeling than a parent no longer being needed by their child, not matter their age. I might lose you for a little while. We will definitely have colossal clashes and you’ll probably break my heart every other week…but I will always, always be here for you when you need me.
I love you so, so much. Happy Birthday Ari.