Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What in the world? Eliza is ten!!!

My Ten Year Old!

Dear Eliza,

You've reached a big milestone! Despite your frequent reminders, I don't think I've fully processed that you've reached double digits! My goodness, the past ten years went by quickly. I have to begin by thanking you for the joy and love you have brought to my life. You look to me as your teacher, but I think often about how you are the one teaching me. You made me a Mom! Seeing how you trust and look to me for answers has forced me to believe and trust in my capabilities. When I'm unsure of my parental footing, you graciously allow me to implement the "fake it until you make it" method while I figure out what to do next. And when I really make a mistake, you are quick to forgive and offer reassurance of your love. I hope that I can heed your example as you grow from tween to teenager to young adult. I hope that I will return that kindness; be quick to forgive and constantly assure you of the love I have for you. 

In recent weeks, I've been impressed with your testimony. You've made scripture study a real priority lately. It's been humbling to observe this as I don't feel that I am making as strong of an effort in my own life. A few times, you've shared with me an experience or a passage of scripture that really spoke to you. You aren't sharing these insights because you're trying to impress me but because you've been touched by the Spirit. I see the sincerity in your eyes. These exchanges make my heart swell.

At Church, I feel that sometimes we are gentle and delicate as we talk about the commandments and what God's standards are for His people. This isn't a criticism, but more of an observation. However, the scriptures can be blunt and/or hard to hear; especially when our lives aren't aligned with Christ's teachings as well as they should be. Sometimes these verses, the ones that refer to truly wicked people, inspire fear and concern. You worry so much about your eternal salvation. I worry for you as you can be a perfectionist and as you reflect on your weaknesses, I see that you are too hard on yourself. It breaks my heart when this happens. I'm glad you want to be obedient; but in addition to that desire, what I want more than anything, is for the scriptures to be that conduit between you and God that allows you to feel of His great love for you. We've talked recently about how we can't be perfect all the time. Jesus Christ asks us to keep trying to be a little better and to repent when we make mistakes. 

I bring this up to illustrate your tender heart. More than your concerns, have come very sweet and tender moments. The other day after school, you shared, "Mom, I'm going to go on a mission. And I already know what I'm going to say when people say they don't want to hear about Jesus." You went on to share your testimony about how we once lived with our Heavenly Father and how we wanted to come to Earth so badly to get our bodies and to become like Him. Because God loves us so much, you explained, He provided a plan for us to return home to Him. I saw determination and conviction in your face and thought how incredible you will be as a missionary. You are awesome. I'm so glad you are finding the motivation to seek out the Spirit on your own because my efforts are often faulty and imperfect. Your life will be happier and you will be safer with the Lord on your side.

School is going well for you. You continue to excel academically. You have had a good year socially. There have been a few challenges and when those arise, I hate that you have to navigate them on your own; but I feel happy that you'll share with me the details of your day when I pick you up. I hope our communication remains as strong as it is now. I think fourth grade, overall, has been a wonderful year for you. But I'm looking forward to having you home all summer! I will do my best to facilitate the social experiences you crave even though I selfishly want to keep you home with me all summer long!

I've been proud of how well you have welcomed Lottie as a new roommate. You and I were both concerned at how this transition would go. Thank you for taking her in under your wing, making her feel like an equal and being her friend. I hope you two will continue to get along. 

Some things never change. Your desire to create and be artsy hasn't declined in your "old age". :) You look at ordinary things and find potential in what they could become. You get this from your Dad. I try to bite my tongue and let you do your thing. Sometimes what I really want to say (and do say) is to, "Please, don't make a mess right now!" Rather, I'm trying to relax and stick with, "Please clean this up when you're done." You are compassionate, thoughtful and fun. You are fulfilling all my dreams of what it would be like to have a daughter. For your birthday you chose to spend your birthday budget on a "shopping spree." I pulled you out of school around lunch time, arranged childcare for the other kids and drove you to Station Park. We ate lunch at Jonny Rockets, where they sang to you. After that, we went to Claires, Justice and Fiiz. We had a great day.

I have no idea what this pose is all about,
perhaps its an Eliza original? 
Either way, you're a cool cat.
The fun should have stopped right there. ;) Somehow, you talked me into an outdoor movie party. We invited all the girls in your class and a few friends from the other. To be honest, I underestimated how quickly the costs of this party would add up and was left to figure out how to cover the costs of your dreamy birthday party since we'd just happily shopped your birthday budget away! Don't worry, it all worked out. The only negative was feeling guilty that Henry didn't get the same level of birthday joy that you did this year. We had a special family party after he was baptized, but man, did he want a friend party. I hope to make it up to him when he turns nine. Anyway... your party came and it was a lot of fun. It was exhausting for both me and Dad but you loved every minute. And I think your guests did too!
The carefully planned birthday outfit.
You were glamorous.
Music was playing when your friends arrived.
This led to some sweet dance moves on the back patio.
You ate pizza, s'mores and popcorn
Opening Gifts...
Morella had fun decorating herself in gift bags.
She announced, "I am Eliza's Fairy Godmother"
I told a friend about your outdoor movie party
and she threw out the idea of having an inflatable pool as a place
for your friends to gather with their blankets and pillows.
The idea was brilliant. 
A few friends opted for the tree house.
My personal favorite were the patio lights.
As the sun set, they added a magical element. 

I hope you'll remember your 10th birthday party for a long, long time. Remember how we told you could invite your whole class (the girls). Remember how delicious the s'mores were. Remember how delighted you were as you watched the Princess Diaries for the first time. And remember your Dad for running toward the house at full speed when your friends announced that our bathroom toilet was clogged and over flowing. That man is my hero. (If Blogger had emojis I would insert several of the smiling "poop" emojis at this point in my post...it was so awful #blessyouandrew)

I love you Eliza. I'm so proud of who you are today. Thanks for being my favorite friend. You have my heart.


P.S. things I want to remember: you still ask me to sing to you each night before bed and you make sure I write you a note and put it in your lunch each day for school. :) 

Birthday videos:

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