Yesterday, Ali turned 10 years old.
Officially a Tween.
(I’ve been calling her a tween since she turned 9 but she is very insistent that tween only refers to double digits that don’t end in a teen. So at least we can put that argument behind us.)
When I started this blog, she was this size:
And now she’s this size.
Over the past year, her face, her poise, and her interests have transitioned from a kid to a young lady. She has grown and matured, so far without losing her unwavering kindness and compassion for others. We’ve had many preparatory talks about what is to come in the next couple years – what she can expect and what she can keep in mind as her hormones mutiny. She says the part that scares her the most is not liking us anymore. So maybe that’s a good sign that she’ll remember it’s just the hormones making her want to hate us.
(We shall see.)
I took this picture on her ninth birthday,
And here she is the day before her tenth birthday:
Above all other things this year, Ali has had a zeal for adventure and the outdoors – something I very much appreciate. Here are the highlights from her year of exploration in loose chronological order, with a few notes mixed in…
She was up for my snowchasing adventures last January,
And she’s always excited for a hike – especially with friends.
And visiting the Ministry of Magic.
She’s the kindest big sister that ever existed, giving Noah way more patience than he deserves (or than he receives from me.)
One of my favorite photos from this year was completely set up by Ali. She told me where to stand to get the picture and how she was going to pose. I didn’t even see the face in the clouds behind her. When I asked her about it the next day (after someone else pointed it out to me), she said “Of course I saw the face. That’s why I wanted you to take the picture.
She was willing to jettison small parts of her rule-following obsession this year..
And has developed a love and fascination for all animals, and misses no opportunity to tell me how much she needs one of her very own. Except it can’t bite. Which, thankfully for me, rules out all animals.
Our Alabama History field trips have only added a love of learning to her adventurous spirit. And also a good dose of pretending to live long, long ago.
About halfway through the year, she got brave enough to go all the way across the “broken bridge” at my parent’s house. I have not personally attempted it.
Now she does it with ease and speed that might make a mother nervous, if she weren’t so excited about photographing it.
She’s still kid enough to fully enjoy dressing up, and not at all minding being the biggest kid on the block.
She’s interested in gymnastics and maybe learning yoga and possibly basketball, now that she knows she’s going to be super tall and so will not practically be able to go to the Olympics in gymnastics.
She’s always willing to pick up a new skill and work hard to improve at it – even the ancient atlatl.
I don’t know what the next year will bring, but whatever it is, I know it will include plenty of adventure.
Happy Birthday, Ali.