10 Years a Monkey

Dear Monkey,

Ten years. A decade.

Where do I start?

Not the beginning. I’ve done that nearly every year for the last nine. Truth is, and as much as it’s hard for me to accept, you’re not my little baby anymore. You’re nearly to my chin. You’ve made us meals. You don’t need my assistance for … well, pretty much anything anymore. We’re well past most of your significant firsts: steps, walks, baths, swims, jumps, foods, big-girl beds, school, friends, plane rides, train rides, horse rides, Christmases, Santa’s laps, Easter egg hunts.

“Alone”. We have to come to terms with that. You’re starting to leave us, even if by those same first baby steps. You’re starting your escape from Mommy’s and my gravitational pull, flinging yourself out into the universe beyond, to explore the worlds beyond, to find your place, to find your own home. It’s the way of all life. It’ll be exciting, and while I’ll hold all the hope and pride for your success, I cannot deny that I’ll be drowning in your absence.

We’ve got a lot of firsts yet to come, before then. Some of them will be wondrous, like your first date. Others will be heart-wrenching, like your first breakup. You’ll take busses on your own. You’ll drive a car. Going to the mall with your friends will be a sense of freedom that you can’t comprehend right now. And then, one day, you’ll leave with your things. The place and feeling you call “home” you knew will forever change.

You’ve travelled more in your first ten years than I did in my first thirty. You’ve been to Europe, Central America, and several parts of North America. You’ve played on tropical beaches, shivvered in North Sea winds, seen the lights of New York City at Christmas, you’ve met an astronaut, climbed to the top of a mountain, looked across a city from one of the tallest structures in the world, seen Tinkerbell fly by as fireworks lit up the skies over Cinderella’s castle, jumped from a dock, held a chick in your hand, hugged a lamb, reached the top of the tree in our backyard. You’ve boarded a plane all on your own, and flew away.

Ten years. A decade. Is this where you start? Is this where Monkey starts to become herself, instead of just my daughter?

I suppose only time will tell.

Happy birthday, Monkey!