A better world - Avery turns Double Digits!

Dear Avery,

Today you are ten years old!  However you have been telling everyone for awhile that you are ten, so I wonder today if you will start telling people that you are eleven.

All in
The theme of the past year for you is definitely friendship and both learning how to be a good friend as well as who is a good friend to you.  This should be easy, but at 44, I still mess up some days or have my feelings hurt other days.  You are a fiercely passionate individual.  To use a poker analogy, you never just call, you are either raising or all in.  Meaning that in your friendships, a girl goes from being just someone in your class that you know to being your BEST friend who you would like to exclusively hang out with all day every day.  Then one day, you decide that girl is OUT.  And you move on to the next person.  

So a couple of things to say about this: firstly, I say you are just like dad, but this all in until you are out behavior is kind of me....in my life (more with boyfriends, career choices) I commit completely until something doesn't work out.  Once a boyfriend or a career choice is not good for me, I don't try to fix it, I just walk away and look for the elusive perfect thing.  Luckily I have found that everlasting love with your dad and have stumbled across a career choice that gives me what I need to feel good. 

Avery, you are amazingly empathetic and you feel intensely.  If I were just meeting you, I would suspect that perhaps some hormones were kicking in, but you have been like this pretty much since you can talk.  You cry if you accidentally step on a bug and you are contented with pure happiness when the sunshine warms your face.  You have a strong code of ethics for what is right and what is wrong in the world; this is your super power.  Once you learn to control it, it will become one of your most powerful assets, going beyond friendships to success in every aspect of your life.  Left uncontrolled, you will burn through friends and wont have the pleasure of long lasting friendships. 

Speaking of hormones
Just a quick note to say that you have been noticing that some girls your age are beginning to look like more than just little girls.  You on the other hand, while tall and strong and beautiful are still a little girl.  I blame it on the organic milk.

Being an athlete
This year you played on your first travel basketball team (coached by dad) and continue to play on a travel lacrosse team.  You have a decent amount of natural athletic ability and have developed tremendously as a player just by being out there playing.  For you sports are about the joy of being on a team, not the drive to be better, to become a premiere athletic superstar.  Being a part of team is wonderful for you.  Getting back to the friendship discussion above, it allows you to understand how to be a part of a group without being so intensely one-on-one.  So I'm kind of okay if you don't have that drive, there is so much good that comes from playing on a team.

And by the way, regardless of why you play, I do love watching you play

Expressing your creativity
Perhaps this is just my projecting my own interests and talents on to you.  You are creative.  Like truly and completely a creative thinker.  And it makes me swoon with pride.  Your penmanship has never been amazing, but those are learned technical skills and they will develop for you.  So I know that right now at ten, you are still frustrated that you can't always get exactly what is is your head down on paper.  Don't worry, keep thinking amazing and creative thoughts and the other stuff will come.  Keep building (yes in Minecraft but also out of old cereal boxes IRL) and one day I believe that you will be an architect or a graphic designer or something else that involves seeing the world around you and coming up with ways to make it more beautiful. 

Conservationist, friend of animals, lover of nature and outdoors
When some babies are cranky and fussy, you can just put them outside in their car seats or bouncy seats, be it winter, summer, spring or fall and they will immediately calm down.  You were one of those babies.  The outdoors just makes you happy.  You love riding your bike, sitting on a swing, going for a walk or just staring up at the trees.  You are also intent on climbing the trees.  All of the trees.

You think about the earth a lot.  The first thing you do when you walk into any room is to turn off the light if you think that the room is bright enough without it.  You pick up garbage outside.  You insist on reusable lunchboxes, water bottles, shopping bags and voice your displeasure on the one or two days (field-trips!) when you have to use disposable.  You take great pleasure in using found and recycled items in your art.  You want to adopt a vegetarian or even vegan lifestyle, but struggle with family meals and tiny ten year old taste-buds, but you are definitely reducitarian.  

This change in your diet has both to do with your understanding that livestock put a strain on our earth, but also  because you love animals.  And you REALLY want a dog.  You will take care of a fish or a hermit crab or even a cat if these are the pets you are given, but you REALLY. WANT. A. DOG.  I am clear of that.  We will see what happens in this tenth year of your life.

Wrap it up and tie a neat bow
In the meantime, I want to try to tie everything together that I have written today with this photo below that I took earlier this week on wonderful sunny evening with no activities.  You art directed this photo, told me where I needed to stand to take it, and how closely I should zoom in on you versus the tree.  This encompasses your love of sport (though the attempted climbing of this tree), your love of the outdoors, you amazingly creative brain that sees the world in a different way than anyone else.  (Oh and also after this photo was taken you ran into some girls who you are friendly with, but not BEST friends (!) who were out walking a dog and you joined them for some time, so I guess on the day this photo was taken you also got to play with your favorite (dogs!) while learning something about friendships being more balanced.

Avery, you will save the world by making it a more gorgeous and livable place.

I love you so very much.  Happy birthday!
Love mom


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