Sunday, May 4, 2008

ChellBell is 81

Dear ChellBell, today we celebrate your eighty-one-th birthday. You are now 6 years and 9 months old. That is forty-five in dog years. I've been blaming your recent and frequent meltdowns on pre-pubescence induced by hormone-laden milk and chicken nuggets, but perhaps it's just your inner-dog getting confused with a mid-life crisis?

You definitely have found and exercised your voice in the past few weeks, and it seems as if you are convinced that you understand way better than me what it takes to be a good Mom. And I listen to what you have to say, because God knows that I could use any advice that comes my way, even if it is from a 6 year old.

Though it's exhausting to play a constant tug-o-war over the boundaries of our home, it's worth it to watch you discover life and grow up right in front of me. Your understanding of things grows astonishingly every day. I can see light bulbs coming on in your head all the time, realizing that there was more before you and that there will be more after you, but that you can make a difference in between.

And I know you will.

It was fun to introduce you to records today. The vinyl kind. And to see your brain work while you tried to figure out how we played them in our cars. And how excited you got when we talked about the leap from records to cassettes (we didn't talk about 8-tracks -- that's for another day), and you learned something new about progress.

I often wonder what kind of progress you'll see in your lifetime. Sometimes I wonder what else could be invented with the exception of the Jetsons highway-in-the-sky flying craft. But with today's literally boundless connections, I'm sure there will be no end to amazing discoveries. And one day, I'll stop keeping up because I'll want it to be the way it used to be, like the huge desire I now have for a turn-table, just thinking back to my days as a child, sitting in the basement with my Mom listening to old Carpenters albums. (And stop trying to calculate how old I am in dog years because you haven't learned to multiply that high.)

You continue to make good choices at school, and I can see that you are proud of your achievements. I, of course, am proud of you, but it's more important that you are proud of yourself. Congratulations on being chosen Student of the Month. You worked very hard, and it was well-deserved.

I know you don't think I'm the best Mom all the time, and honestly, I'd have to agree. I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good Mom to you. And just about the time I figure it out, you change, and I start all over again. From what I hear, we are just getting started in this daughter vs. Mother wrestling match. But regardless of how long this round takes, there are a few things that I always want you to know:

That I love you more than any breath I take
That the hardest days with you are better than the best days without you
That we have a loving God who holds tight to us, who will never fail us, and who knew exactly what He was doing when He wrote you into my story

I'm thankful for these 81 months. So grab my hand, sweet girl, and let's figure this thing out together. Some days giggling, some days with raised voices, sometimes over slurpees, and sometimes after time-out. But together.

Love, Mama

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