When you were born, I would make jokes about how serious you looked.
I felt like I needed to remind you that the bills are paid, the mortgage is all set, and mom and dad are taking care of the big things.
I know we're new to all of this sweetie, but we're doing okay, right?
Take this weight of the world right off your shoulders.
When you were crazy little, your doctor held you for the first time and she called you an old soul.
We both felt it, like you had done this all before.
As you got to be a few weeks old, we started noticing how much you noticed.
You paid attention. You were very present. You were taking it all in.
How people spoke, their tone, what they said, who they were saying it to.
You paid attention.
You looked for reactions, you wanted to appease.
You really wanted us to be so proud of you.
You really wanted us to smile in your direction.
You were aware of love, and worried about disappointment.
That has not changed.
You are still very aware.
You are still paying attention.
You are very in tune with people, tones, and voices, and emotions.
You paid attention during the years that things were hard for me.
I thought you thought this was just life, but you were aware, this wasn't what I was supposed to be doing any longer.
You saw that I missed you and that I was missing big parts of us.
You paid close attention to the stress, but also the life that we were building.
You were aware.
You were also aware of when it ended and the difference in our lives.
You noticed the slowing down and an actual shift.
You talked about the changes you saw and how things felt different.
When the world shut down, you were aware of what this meant. How big of a deal this was.
You were aware of what mattered the most, what the priorities were.
When we all had no choice but to get back to basics, you were no different.
You became kind to your brother, you started running with me, and you were warm and allowed our home to be even more loving.
You were aware of the importance and how much we all needed each other.
As you grew and grew, you continued to pay attention.
You are always listening.
You notice our arguments and ask questions.
You notice our insane laughter and laugh along.
You notice our time together and never let me forget how much you appreciate it.
You are in awe of our trips. Really the most present person I know. You walk a fine line between recording the memories and living them too.
My daughter, you continue to teach me so much.
You continue to lead our way.
One of your teachers shared with me that I am your living hero and how much you obviously look up to me.
All I have to say is the feeling could not be more mutual.
Because I too am aware and in awe of you sweet girl.
I take careful note of you.
I watch and listen to you.
I stop all I am doing when you get home to be present with you.
I am taking you in and making sure that I am not missing the days anymore.
My daughter, you lead our dance because I know you have done this all before.