double digit daughter

My sweet, baby girl turned 10 today! I think I am in denial that time has moved so quickly. Gosh, I love that girl.

We started off the day with chocolate cupcakes (per her request) and presents, then she went off to school for half the day. We checked her out early, to snap some pictures and then head off to base to go through the military brat rite of passage….getting her first ID card. She was so excited! Dinner was down on the strip at Max Brenner (chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate) and we even got the pleasure to have Uncle Justin in town to celebrate with us.

Before bed, she said she had a good birthday. I sure hope so!

 

Below are our “Letters to Jacey”. I got the idea to start writing them when she was 10 months old. I then wrote them every month until 1 year, every 6 months until 2 years and then every year until 5 years. We have slacked the last few years, but thought the first double digit birthday definitely deserved a letter. Jacey has never read any of them. We plan to give them all to her when she graduates high school.

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November 2011

Jacey –

O.M.Gee! You are 10?! No way, we HAVE to cancel your birthday. Yep, no more getting older for you. Two digits, nuh-uh, not my baby girl.

Sigh.

I can’t believe you are now 10. My tiny, little bundle of joy has turned into a beautiful young lady. So smart, beautiful and funny. A social butterfly that I am blessed to see spread her wings further and further each day in preparation to fly away one day. As selfish as it may sound, I am not ready to let go. One day I will have to, but not yet. Thankfully.

Daddy and I constantly try to figure out who you act like and who you look like but we can’t, because you are just YOU and I pray you always stay that way. Never be ashamed of who you are and never follow “the crowd”. God made you special and unique. You are the ONLY you in this great big world.

The last few years have brought forth many changes that for some would be quite disrupting. When you were 6, I was diagnosed with leukemia. Right after you turned 8, Daddy started his retraining process and missed most of the next 8 months of your life and then we he got home, we left Florida which had been our home for the last 5 years for Las Vegas. I am constantly amazed at your ability to keep going, keep smiling, adapt and be truly happy. I wish I had that trait and can only hope that we nurture that part of you. If you can keep that, you can accomplish ANYTHING.

This year in 4th grade, GATE (gifted & talented), science and PE continue to be your favorite subjects. Skinny jeans, t-shirts and Converse are your first choices every morning when you get dressed for school and bras are now the bane of Daddy’s existence every week at laundry time. The child who screamed at the very sight of any body of water larger than a bathtub several years ago is now a star swimmer on the YMCA swim team.

When you aren’t busy at school, honor choir, AWANA or swim team, you spend your time reading, playing the XBox or Wii and most recently, entertaining and taking care of our newest addition to the family. You begged for a dog for years and this year, we finally felt you were mature enough to be responsible for one. In mid-October, we adopted a 4 year old female Yorkie from the shelter that you promptly named Zoey. It is so much fun to watch you with her and I pray that best buds you will stay.

Baby girl, you amaze me. Everyday, I wake up and thank God for you, even on the hard days.

You are everything I ever dreamed of having.

I love you!
– Mommy

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November 1, 2011

Jacey-

My, time sure has flown by! Here we are, a few hours away from celebrating your first decade on this little rock we call Earth.  A lot of “stuff” has happened since you were brought on to this world, and it amazes me how much you have influenced all those around you.  The first moment I saw you, I knew your Mom and I were in for a treat.

I’ve always been proud of you and all that you have accomplished in the short time you have been here.  You have a thirst for knowledge that most if not all parents would be extremely proud of.  I cannot fathom how many times I’ve heard the questions “Why?” and “How?” come out of your mouth.  It makes me proud because with that thirst for knowledge combined with a mind like a steel trap, I know you will go so far.  You have the drive to become whatever you want to be and then some.  I look forward to the future where I can see just exactly how far you will go.

Of course, by now, you are like “Jeez Dad, enough with the mushy stuff!”  Well I guess you will have to just deal with it.  I’m sure there will be more to come…

Well, let’s see…I guess I can start by giving you a snapshot of who you are through my eyes.  Every time I look at you I see this beautiful little girl that is blossoming into what will one day be a beautiful woman who will be wise and virtuous.   I would like to say that I had a little to do with that, but we both know that most of that came from your Mommy’s side.  You are very wise for your age, but I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.

You love to dress in what I would have at one time considered 80’s attire, even though it seems to have made a comeback.  You LOVE your skinny jeans, Converse tennis shoes, and any shirt with skull and crossbones designs.  You love to paint your fingernails and toenails black because it is so cool.  If you are not wearing your skinny jeans, you are wearing some form of capris.  Your Teetra started you in wearing hair feathers and colored hair extension clips (not sure what to call them).  You have braces this year, so of course, you have to have colors in those as well.  All in all, I’d say you are a pretty fashion savvy diva.  I’m glad you are happy with the way you look and have a way of carrying yourself confidently.

You are such a smart little girl as well.  You have a knack for problem solving and a great deal of common sense.  You act twice your age, so I like to say “You are 9 going on 20”.  Sometimes I think you were thrust into growing up a little too fast with what life has thrown at you the last few years…I pray you don’t feel like you missed out on anything.  I hope that Mommy and I provided a great CHILDhood for you before you had to grow up and miss out on any of those things all kids should do.  You seem to really enjoy life, though, so I would like to think we are doing a great job.

Roughly three years ago, Mommy was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).  I believe this is the first time you have really had to deal with someone’s mortality that is so close to you.  The true first time was Pops, but that was a long time ago and you were still very young.  I know this contributed to you having to grow up a little faster than the other kids around you.  You seem to take it in stride, though, like you know everything is going to be alright.  I know you think about it a lot, but you seem to internalize a lot of stuff as you get older.  I pray you know that I will always be here for you.

You also had to leave your friends in Florida because I cross-trained to a new career field nearly 2 years ago.  Because of that, we had to leave Florida and relocate to Las Vegas since my job wasn’t offered by any base in Florida.  It would have been nice to stay in Florida, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  We left a school that you loved and Niceville United Methodist Church, a church that we almost considered our second home.  I sometimes feel bad about having taken all that away from you and Mommy.  It was, however the best thing for my career progression and an infinitely better job; at least so I think.  I’m not so sure your mom thought so.

Even with all that, you never seemed to have any problems making friends.  You always were such a social butterfly.  People flock to you because you seem to have an infectiously positive attitude.  I imagine that is why you seem to be so popular.  You don’t even have to try; it comes so natural to you.

This year has been fun for us.  You are currently on the Swim Team at our local YMCA, and you are good.  You tried out and started off in Bronze.  The coaches saw that you had natural, raw talent and moved you to Silver with the more advanced swimmers.  You placed 3rd and 4th in Backstroke and Freestyle at your first swim meet, which is really good considering the caliber of swimmers you were up against.  I know with a little time and some strength training, and you will be unstoppable.  You take to the water like a fish.  Many people tell your Mommy and me that you have a natural stroke and that it seems you have been swimming for a long time.  I wish you could see the look on their faces when we told them that you have only been swimming for a few weeks on the swim team.  You love swim team, and it seems Swim Team likes you so hopefully you will make it a long time relationship in your life.

You have also been doing great at the church with Awana as well.  Just this last week, you passed three modules in a matter of no time.  I like what Awana teaches you because it is Christian based life learning that should stand the test of time.  I pray what you learn there will last you a lifetime.  One of the cool things you got to do with Awana was the Pinewood Derby.  As hard as it was, I let you totally design the car.  I just helped you build it.  Daddy definitely approved of the design.  It looked like an old school racecar and man did it fly!  As a matter of fact, you won 2nd place in your group of about 20.  I was very proud of you!

I will always be proud of you.  You are growing up to be such a wonderful little woman.  I look forward to seeing where life takes you and will always be there for you when you need me.  Now that I have seen what you have done in the first decade, I foresee that you will have a great life ahead of you.  I could keep on going with this letter, probably for days…but seeing how I have to eventually wrap it up, I guess I will stop here…

Love you bunches!
-Daddy

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