Dear Ali,

Something about turning nine is clearly a large step – we’re entering into something new, something unknown, a completely different territory of life.


Maybe it’s not that exact age for everyone, but we sense it with you. You’re growing up, figuring out who you are, becoming more self-aware of your personhood.


We’ve been having lots of talks lately about what it means to age, boggling your mind with stories of how your future hormones will probably make you want to hate us and hate your brother and hate everything else (and that you can’t let those pesky hormones win), and also, how proud we are of who you are becoming.

You’re braver than you’ve ever been, you still have your goofy kid side, and you’re brilliant, perceptive, hard-working, and thoughtful.


Wherever this journey takes you,




I hope that you stay you,

That you remember who you are and Whose you are,


That you remember to set a good example for your brother who infinitely adores you,




And that you never forget how much we love you.160108i

Oh – and be sure to have fun along the way.



Happy birthday to the kid who made me a mom…


I hope that you live the rest of your life with as much vigor and passion as is now contained within you.


14 thoughts on “On Crossing the Bridge from Kid to Tween.

  1. such a beautiful tribute! (and beautiful photography!) Happy Birthday, Ali! And I must ask: Does that bridge have a story? Is it hidden when there are leaves on the tree? It’s pretty darn cool and a little mysterious looking…

  2. Well, this made me all teary-eyed and she’s not even my child! lol Dumb hormones! Happy, Happy Birthday, Ali!

  3. Aww…tear! I feel like Ali is just 1/2 a step in front of K. Can’t believe they’re 9 this year. As a mother it’s exciting and scary and bittersweet! Love these photographs. That is the coolest bridge! And brave Ali for going out on it! Happy Birthday Ali! Hope 9 is your best year yet!

  4. Now that’s a tearjerker if I ever read one.

    My family has watched this transition via Facebook with my cousin’s daughters. Her oldest, Emma, is now 14 and we’re all collectively freaking out that she’s not a little kid any more. But she is becoming a fantastic young woman. She definitely has had all of her “tween” interests, but she has remained so loving. Her younger sister has major chronic health issues, and Emma has been just the most amazing supportive big sister. She’s a shining example that girls can go through the tween transition and not make us want to put them up for adoption. ;-)

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