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Indian Burns & Horse Meat

26 Aug

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“How was school today?” I asked Allie.

“It was pretty good I guess. Learned math, ate lunch, got an indian burn. You know, the usual.” Allie replied while chugging her after school ice water.

I nose-laughed a little for a number of reasons. One being that I’d forgotten indian burns even existed. The second reason, she mentioned it so casually, as if indian burns were just a day in the life, and DUH, of course she got one at school today. Another, I couldn’t believe that in the time since I was a little girl indian burns have yet to be given a politically correct name. Sitting indian style is now called sitting criss-cross applesauce, or at least it was when Allie went to preschool. So I just assumed that indian burns may have been renamed something slightly catchy like the Forearm Twist Ripper of DEATH.

But I was wrong.

Anyway, some parents would probably be semi distraught that their child came home complaining of mild playground violence. However, there were no marks, and she was contusion free. Kids are kids, and I’m sure she wasn’t just on the receiving end of the nonsense.

Plus, nothing surprises me when children are in large groups together. If you told me a group of 100 small children found a way launch frogs to the moon to watch them orbit then rain back down onto earth, I would be all, “UM, YEAH THEY DID!” while considering believing it for a few seconds because those little minds are just working so hard every minute of the day. And, there is really nothing scarier than a group of smart people with too much time on their hands and imaginations that have not been jaded by reality.

Speaking of which, following the discovery that indian burns were still regular elementary school behavior, I investigated what Allie had for lunch. She usually complains that the school lunch tastes like garbage. Which it must, because this kid will eat almost anything. We pack her lunch often, but some mornings we forget or are running late.

But anyway, she was all, “I had the worst hamburger ever. MADE FROM HORSE MEAT!!!”

“What?”

“Yeah, Mom, made from horse meat. That’s what they make them from at my school. HORSES!” She replied, hissing the last word through her teeth to make sure it hung in the air.

“Oh, Allie. Why do you think that? I mean, I wasn’t there when they constructed the alleged beef you ate for lunch today. So I can’t make any promises. However, I’m guessing that it did not involve the slaying of any equestrian creatures.”

“Mom, the FOURTH graders say it is made of horse meat. They’ve been eating it longer than me. They probably know.”

“No, Allie. Again, I’m making no promises, but I think that there is no horse meat in those burgers. At least, I hope not.”

“Hmmph.” She grunted in a manner that suggested she believed nothing coming out of my mouth, and feared deep within her soul the outcome of the impact that my misguided ways may have on her.

“It really is horse meat, Mom.” She then looked at me with the resolve of a gangster that had accepted his life on the streets. Her blue eyes all serious, and her mouth in a straight line, like that awkward emoticon no one should use. All of this because she had accepted digesting alleged horse meat, which was obviously as serious as an initiation in the Latin Kings.

Horse meat, thug life. It’s all the same.

And that’s pretty much an excerpt that perfectly sums up our relationship.

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Toilet Chainz

22 Aug

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I spent a large portion of yesterday wearing a bracelet made for me by Allie. It was red and chain like. I really never put any thought into where she may have obtained the bracelet building supplies, and she crafts up random items so frequently that it’s really just something I’m used to, such as the ACE bandage baby carrier seen below.

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Later in the evening, Allie went to her Dad’s house, and Austin and I were eating dinner.

“Did you see this bracelet that Allie made me? I’m trying to wear it more.” I said.

He looks over and laughs a little, “Yeah, it’s nice, but, um, that’s a toilet chain.”

“What?”

“You’re wearing a toilet chain around your wrist.”

I was in slight disbelief as it looked like an actual craft product with its plastic coating and bright red sheen. However, upon examining it closely, it looked very much like the remainder of the broken, red toilet chain replaced a few months ago on the downstairs toilet after it snapped in two.

It was then I faced the reality that pretty red chain bracelet I had been wearing on my wrist for a large portion of the day spent the first years of its life as a fixture in my toilet tank.

Toilet chain or fancy bracelet, I still got a pretty good laugh from it. And, I have also decided that my rapper name may be Toilet Chainz.

Cinder Blocks & Sweet Talk

30 Jul

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Allie begins 3rd grade on Monday. I’ve been trying to avoid the annual shedding of tears as she advances in grades. It never fails that I usually cry, because it really does feel like just yesterday she was a baby. It seems like such a cliche thing to say or hear, almost like a cop out that parents blurt when they are unable to really capture how it feels to see their children grow, but the reason people say it is that it is true. One days she was a tiny baby, and somewhere in the shift of time she became a walking, talking sass mouth that never fails to make me laugh.

When Allie was a baby I remember thinking another cliche thought, that I wished she came with a manual. I’m not really sure even now what a parenting manual would say. However, I feel that if it possessed real wisdom and not the scraps of common sense that you can find in the instruction of any baby product, it would document that the struggle of parenting transfers slowly from physical to emotional in a way that remains steady yet challenging as kids grow older.

In the beginning, it seems like the demand of parenting is largely physical. From carrying a child inside of your body to carrying them around in your arms for hours when they will not sleep, it’s pretty physical. The lack of sleep from nightly wake ups is similar, and while I am not denying that there is an emotional element, I don’t think it is comparable to the emotional pull as they age and the things that trouble them become more than needing their diaper changed.

Eventually, there is a time when the struggle is no longer carrying a sleeping child up a set of stairs or a random back ache from pulling a car seat from the back seat. Parenting an older child is difficult in a very emotional way. I think the aforementioned nonexistent, realistic parenting manual would tell you that there are no words to truly document the heartache of watching your child struggle with change, feeling left out, or hurt feelings. Watching your child in tears over an issue that you can not assist her in handling is heart wrenching in a way that lack of sleep can never touch. You could fill a car seat with cinder blocks and carry it five miles and the physical strain would never compare to the sadness of watching your child’s feelings crumble while dealing with something they find difficult.

Allie’s a pretty tough girl feelings wise, and she will conceal and refuse to reveal her true feelings in an effort to please people. And while I see how that could beneficial to some degree, it’s also sort of a bummer. I feel like she ends up acting like she is okay with things that she isn’t and then having a break down later and acting out in some of the strangest ways possible. The physical to emotional comparison with watching this is probably akin to waking with an infant every 30 minutes and then running a marathon in which your shoes are lined with razor blades. It’s painful, it stings, and you are just waiting for things to heal.

No matter how well you try to explain it, there are no real words to truly describe it and any attempt seems nearly useless. Hugs and reassurance seem to work for cheering her up,  yet the issues churning her emotions still weigh heavy on my mind.

The upside of it all is that she cheers up pretty easily after she falls. Which I guess is why she has currently wrapped her whole body in ace bandages while watching The Brady Bunch like it’s a new show on the DIsney Channel.

Maybe by the time 4th grade comes around a parenting manual will explain it all. Cross your fingers for me.

Spray Tan-gerine

11 Jun

Since I last posted, I passed my PA certification test. I visited my mom. I watched The Lumineers in concert (one of the BEST live performances I’ve ever seen). I watched one of my long time friends get married. But mostly I’ve spent time with Allie, searched endlessly for jobs, and done lots of nothing. I’ve also found ways to procrastinate a list of chores in spite of having nothing to do at all. Mostly, I’ve been trying not to focus on things like doing nothing, and instead, I’ve been trying to enjoy Allie in all of her 8ness.

After spending two years focusing so much of my life on school, it’s so nice to sit around and enjoy Allie’s laughter without worrying about when I would work studying into the day. Not feeling guilty on a daily basis has been incredibly freeing.

On a much lighter note, Allie was perfect companion on our long drive to Florida. She kept me amused on the way down and the way back. But, the highlight was probably when I tried to convince her we should stop for dinner on the way back at a place called Larry’s Giant Subs. Allie boycotted, telling me it sounded like the kind of place “that would have hairs in the food.” And as per usual, she was right.

Allie took in all things beach at my mom’s house. She even got a mermaid braid in her hair. And the best part: A spray tan, which I debated for some time. I feared that if I allowed my 8 year old to get a spray tan, I would probably end up on the news, or worse, some bad TLC reality show that I would watch as if it were my job (which I do not have, ha). However, I gave in realizing that the tiny trampettes from Toddlers & Tiaras already dominated the juvenile spray tan front, and I would likely not end up on the news or jailtracker for letting my pale baby get one.

I should probably also mention that I pulled a Ross from Friends while attempting to get a spray tan. There are four awkward positions you have to stand in to get spray tanned. I was day dreaming for two in which I was not supposed to face the spray nozzles and got sprayed directly in the face a few more times than intended. I did not turn orange. At least my mom said I wasn’t, but mothers do tend to occasionally bend the truth for the self-esteem of their lovely daughters. I sent updated photos to my friends as my orange awkwardly progressed on my wrists and palms.

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This would probably be a good place for a witty conclusion, but I think I’ll just add it to the list of things I’m procrastinating for no reason.

Harold and the Gemstone

25 Apr

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Allie got in the car after school on Tuesday and looked sad or maybe tired.   This is pretty out of the norm for her, as she is usually happy go lucky. I decided to investigate the problem.  In a matter of seconds, the issue surfaced:

Allie,”Ugh. My boyfriend broke up with me today.”

“Well, Allie, you’re 8.  I think you’ll be okay.   Besides, I think we both know you don’t need a boyfriend. Being 8 isn’t about boyfriends. It’s about playing, having friends, and being a kid. You will have plenty of time in your life to think about how much you want to strangle a boy*.”

Allie,”Oh, I know. But still, what kind of loser breaks up with me? I think I’m cool.”

“That’s an excellent question.  You’re smart and funny.  You’re always happy, and you’re pretty.  Not to mention, you have the best hair out of anyone I know in basically the history of ever.  You, well, you are a total gemstone.”

Allie,” Yeah.  You’re right. What a scum knuckle. Besides, I already have a new boyfriend named Harold?” All of this said while her sad expression morphed into one of cynicism and giggles.

“There’s a second grader named Harold? Does he go by that?” I asked, trying not to lose focus on the subject at hand and go off on a rant in my head about the things people name their children**.

Allie,”Not even close, that’s just what I call him: Harold.”  Then she laughed like a hyena.

And that is why if left to listen to someone for hours upon hours, it would be Allie.

Allie and Harold sittin’ in a tree, R-E-A-D-I-N-G.

*Not all boys need strangled. But some of them do need a slap upside the head.  (Not my boyfriend, because he is a man, like a real one and not just someone who thinks they are a man because they’ve gone through puberty. The latter of which sadly accounts for most men in this area. I think any further rants about that would need a whole other post and would distract from this bit.)

**While what other people name their children obviously isn’t my business, I think when naming a child you should realize how much power you truly have in the initial impression they make. If your daughter is born with a stripper name, it may be difficult for her to become President. I would probably never vote for someone called Precious or Trixie. However, I am only one person. So.

Like Marie Antoinette

19 Apr

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Allie is 8 now, and the importance of giving her an educated version of recent tragedy is pretty prevalent. If you fail to properly educate your kids about events, they hear the weirdest version at school. I would much rather have a talk with her about something than deal with the strange and recycled version received at school after swapped through various tiny mouths, like a bad game of telephone.

So Allie and I had the Boston marathon talk. She looked sad, and then she looked angry. And then she looked at me, very matter of fact and said, “You know what they should do to those people? Probably arrest them and do what happened to Marie Antoinette. Off with their heads.” I think she will be sorely disappointed to find out that the guillotine is not a current method of punishment in the United States.

This would probably be a good place to be all, “Hey girl, what’s with the urge to behead people?”  But I pick my battles and today the guillotine isn’t one, especially since she just washed a load of laundry by herself.  Not to mention, the chances of her becoming a revolutionary is already pretty much 50/50, because she wakes up ready to stop around about some sort of injustice on a daily basis.

I hope you enjoy your children as much as I enjoy Allie.  I also hope you find a way to explain things to them that means they aren’t learning them on the school bus. I’m pretty sure the only useful thing I learned on the school bus was how to properly launch an egg at someone’s house, and that isn’t the most practical of things.

Allie on Scents and Feather Boas

14 Apr

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While prancing through the store yesterday, Allie stops in her tracks and points to Bugles, “those are so gross. They disgust me. They taste bad, AND they smell worse than feet.”

Me, “I agree. Bugles probably have one of the grossest scents on earth. The smell of bugles could truly make me vomit.”

Allie scoffs, “Worst smell on earth? Clearly, you’ve never smelled diarrhea.”

Me, “Allie, ladies don’t talk about diarrhea, and if they have to, they don’t discuss it in a public place.”

She rolls her eyes then looks at the floor for a moment, quietly calculating if she wants to go on with the conversation or buy into the business of being a lady.

Finally, she looks up at me with a near regal facial expression and wraps an arm around my waist while leaning in to walk side by side down the aisles with me in the style of Siamese twins, “How about Rootbeer? It has a very interesting smell. It’s like you can smell it fizzing.”

She is so spot on sometimes. I love being Allie’s mom, even when it means she stops me in a craft store so that she can bury her body in feather boas because she claims it is, “the perfect opportunity for a photograph.” And it was.

Figure It Out: School Pick Up Line

11 Apr

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If I take into account that most people are obligated in some form or fashion to follow the calendar, I’m guessing that most people know it is April. That said, Allie’s school began back in early August. She has attended the school for 3 years now, and while every year the child drop off/pick up process changes location with each grade, the process is essentially the same.

You have a pass with your child’s number on it. You hang it from your rearview mirror, or you attach it to your windshield with scotch/duct tape like a total junkie. Then, you follow the assigned line to pick up your child. It’s pretty simple. You pull your car into the line of cars. You wait on your child until it is your turn to pull up and get them. It’s really a painless process that has been well thought out by school officials. At most, the process has only ever taken 10-15 minutes.

Anyway, it is April, and it seems that some people still haven’t mastered the parent pick up line. They have had since August to figure out that all you have to do is to get in line with the pick-up pass placed in a visible spot. But no. At any given moment, a redneck car will randomly pull out in front of you in spite of the fact that you are both hauling around children, or try to cut line. Cutting line is pretty obvious when:

a) YOU ARE IN A CAR!

b) The cars you are trying to squeeze between are roughly one foot apart.

c) The average car is 15-17ft long, which provided you aren’t Ray Charles or Helen Keller, is pretty easy to notice.

A Volkswagen Beetle could not slyly sneak in the line; in fact, a Japanese beetle probably couldn’t sneak into the line. Also: it is a line! And I was under the impression most people picking up children were adults that could follow general principles of decent human behavior like waiting your turn or not charging at a car with a freshly retrieved from school child. But I was wrong, because at least once a week a car pulls out in front of me or nearly side swipes me.

Ugh. Anyway, it may be time to give up hope for those haven’t figured out the process, because if you haven’t figured out how to follow a simple process by now, it is probably never happening.

(Also, while I have publicly admitted my car is a disaster, I still refuse to tape a piece of paper to my windshield.)

(And I know the above picture has nothing to do with the writing, but I think Allie is pretty.)

Spring Break Shenanigans: Flu Baby

12 Mar

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I had big plans of spending my super wild Spring Break elbow deep in studying, because I live on the wild side, and on the wild side, we read until our eyes feel crossed and bladders are full. If I had a dime for every time I held my pee in order to finish a paragraph about why you shouldn’t hold your urine, I would have to drink less cranberry juice. Anyway, my plans were thwarted somewhat when I came down with the flu this weekend and handed it kindly over to Allie, because I’m running low on valuable family heirlooms.

So on Spring Break Day #2, we made our way to the local pediatric office.

As someone entering (or maybe already in?) the medical profession, Allie is an interesting patient, and by interesting, i mean good entertainment yet a pain in the rear. When a nurse came in to inform her she had to poke her finger, Allie surrendered it while squeezing her eyes shut. Then, as she watched her nurse squeeze blood out of her finger following the stick, she dramatically said, “you know, I’ll need you to leave a bit of that in my body so that I can survive.”

“Uh huh,” the nurse said, playing along. “I think you’ll live.”

Then Allie’s nurse double wrapped her finger with bandaids. One vertically, one horizontally. “Ugh,” Allie muttered. “It seriously looks like part of my finger has already fallen off. I’m probably lose my whole hand any day now”

“So much drama.” The kind nurse said as she laughed out the door.

If only she knew.

We left with a Flu diagnosis and Allie complaining about how she hoped she didn’t lose her right hand from the finger stick, as that’s the one she writes with and it would greatly impact her doodling. I think if she has enough energy to complain, we will both be alright.

To Allie on her 8th Birthday

4 Mar

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Dear Allie,

You’re 8 today. Eight whole years old. It’s very cliche to say that I can’t believe you are eight, but it’s also very honest. It’s so hard for me to believe you used to a baby, and I rocked you while singing Red Hot Chili Pepper songs, because I was 20, and the only lullaby I knew was Rock-A-Bye baby, which sounds kind of creepy to me. So you fell asleep to ‘Under the Bridge’ and ‘Scar Tissue’, even ‘Stadium Arcadium’ after it came out, but I never full mastered it.

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You’re such a special and funny girl. And so interesting. And smart. And just gorgeous. You’re a wonderful daughter and a great companion to have around.

Some important things about you: You hate armpits. You hate seeing them and break into a dramatic fit anytime someone is wearing a tanktop or shirt with no sleeves. “WHY DO THEY SHOW THEM? THEY’RE GROSS!” You cry. And you’re right. We both agree that it is a true travesty anyone finds it socially acceptable to cut the sleeves off of a t-shirt and wear it. It is two seconds of redneck away from streaking at a NASCAR race. During a very serious discussion regarding your disgust you once told me that, “armpits are gross and smelly and hairy. No one should show them and if they do, THEY ARE A REAL SICKO.A REAL SICKO! ” And probably, you’re right.

(A lot of this letter is in caps when I’m quoting you. Because you find it appropriate to yell when you are expressing opinions. I guess it works, because most people end up listening to the loudest person in the room, even when they don’t want to do so. )

Your favorite cousin is going through puberty at the moment. She has been for a bit, and you have so many questions about it. Sometimes answering them is mentally taxing, especially when you drill me about when you will get your “woman boobs”. I try to answer them in a fashion that is honest yet keeps you young. “Mom, my cousin says she has hormones now. I guess that’s why she is hateful sometimes. WHAT are hormones? Why do they make people snappy?? She also won’t let me say boobies or even breasts. She says I have to say chest. Chest, Mom. It’s ridiculous.” Ridiculous, indeed.

You’re an entrepreneur. You opened a cookie stand and on the very first day, you made $50. You stashed it with your tooth fairy funds rather than spend it on toys or clothes or technology. You save every dime you make. I tried to convince you that perhaps we should open a bank account in which you could accumulate your funds. However, you told me point blank, “Mom! How do you know the bank won’t get poor one day and just steal my money out of my account. If I can’t see it, they can take it. If I can see it, they CAN’T take it.” I considered arguing with you about your logic. But at the end of the day, there is a point at which your opinion can be true So instead, you hoard it in a very secret place that only you and I know. Maybe one day you will come to terms with banks, but I feel it isn’t going to be anytime soon.

As far as school goes, you have made straight 100s on every spelling test this year. You love school. You like to get there early to eat breakfast and gossip with your friends. You love your friends. You love animals. You love inside jokes and Pretty Little Liars. On Tuesday nights, after you go to ballet, gymnastics, and hip-hop class, we curl up on the couch under covers and closely watch the details of the lives of Hannah, Emily, Aria, and Spencer play out on the screen of the tv. If the day comes that they never reveal who A is, I fear for ABC Family and the author of the books Sara Sheperd. Hell hath no fury like a redhead scorned by a cliffhanger. I’m certain you may explode.

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Recently, you tried to get Austin to start watching Pretty Little Liars, which was very amusing. In your special addition Pretty Little Liars magazine, you found an article about how to get boys to watch the show. I think you tried to use those tricks, and even made me read them in the event that I needed help getting him to watch it. After you asked, he agreed to try it, because he is kind and also because he thought it was 30 minutes long and not an hour. He playfully pestered you the whole time. “Is this show about zombies Allie? Is it about vampires? Which one is a zombie? Which one of them is the werewolf? Which one of them is the head vampire? Do they drink blood or not? The black haired girl is the vampire, isn’t she? The ones with black hair are usually the vampires.” You huffed, but answered his questions with continuous nos. When he left to go home a few minutes later, you looked at me in a confiding manner and said, “Mom, I like Austin. He’s nice. But I have NO IDEA how you watch tv with him. Did you hear how many questions he asked me about that tv show? Seriously. He just didn’t get it. Vampires this. Vampires that. Shew.” And then you walked off to do random cartwheels and break dance, because that’s just how you roll.

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You drove a boat on the lake for the first time this past Summer. You were so excited, and you would try to hit every small wave as it approached. You stood behind the wheel with your curly red locks flying into the wind and skinny legs locking your stance in place. It was so fun to watch. I could tell that you felt free, and it was the kind of moment you would think about later in life and be happy.

I admire so many things about you. I could carry on for days. You make me laugh endlessly. Whether you are dancing behind a stranger in Wal-Mart as part of a dance dare for The Ellen Show:

Or tucking in every stuffed animal you have taken in as a favorite, most of them from Build-A-Bear for birthdays and sitting through your flu shot without freaking out. And you still have your long time pal and water baby, Gary:

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Sometimes when you find me asleep, you tuck one in with me as well. You’re so thoughtful. You even send get well cards to kids who are sick at school if they are out for more than one day. Just a few days ago I found you hoarding programs from your church in your bedroom. I dared to ask why they were stacking up on your night stand. “I pray for them, Mom. They list the sick people in there that need prayers. So I pray for them. I say each one of their names. You should read that list, too! Some of them have hard last names to pronounce. I kind of wish only people with easy last names got sick, but I guess that wouldn’t be fair.” I hugged you until you told me that I was squashing your guts, because you’re such an admirable little girl. You are just the sort of person that people should desire to be like.

Sometimes I look at you, and I’m amazed that my uterus made something worthy of being a Disney Princess.

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I tell you that you are smart, kind, strong, funny, and that I love you. I tell you that you are beautiful as well. Probably not as often as the others. For many reason, really. One being that you know you are pretty. The major reason, most likely, is that I never want you to rely on your impeccable face to get you through life. While you are pretty, you are so many other things, and for your confidence to rest solely on your flawless face would be a travesty. So I tell you how pretty you are, but mostly I tell you all of the other things you are.

One of the more amusing and confusing things that has happened lately was in Kroger. A stranger, an older woman in a floral print sweatshirt with classic short old lady hair a la Sophia of the Golden Girls, approached you and said, “You’re such a pretty little girl.” You looked her in the eye, and said, “I know, but thank you.” I was shocked that you didn’t just say thank you. But at the end of the day, I think that if you remain that confident through your teenage years, I will buy you a unicorn that drools rainbows.

If you know anything in this world, I think it’s important that you realize I love you, even more important than the multiplication facts you have been furiously studying. You see, it’s important you realize that I have never seen you enter a room that you could not take over with your charm and wit. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love you. And that’s important. Overall, I just hope that you know that I love you dearly, and I support any decision you make, even when it’s the the right one, wrong one, or the hard one.

I know that it has always helped me to know that my mother loves and supports me. She used to write me letters in my birthday cards or congratulation cards that were similar to this. I always loved them. When I was having a bad day, I would go back and reread them all, and it meant so much to me that she had taken the time to detail important things. But mostly, it has always meant a lot to me to know that no matter what happens, my mom loves me. It’s helped me make a lot of decisions in life, even when they are difficult decisions that most people didn’t like, but were better for me in the long run. My mom loves me. And your mom loves you. Endlessly and forever.

Happy 8th Birthday! If ever a girl in this world deserved to have a wonderful birthday, it is you.

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I love you for always,

Mom