Monday, July 6, 2015

My Alayna

Have you met the girl with the crazy-curly blonde hair?  You know the one.  The one with the pink cowboy boots.  The one with the infectious laugh.  The one who was Elsa for Halloween and has since worn her Elsa dress at every opportunity.  The one at your party who would rather play with your pets than eat the cake.  The one who swears she isn't tired but falls asleep the minute you tell her she can stay up a little longer on the couch.  Yes, that girl.

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That's my Alayna.

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When I was told that my fourth child would be a girl, I could hardly believe it.  Throughout my pregnancy, every time I had an ultrasound I made sure that they were SURE the baby was a girl.  At every ultrasound they assured me that, yes, she was definitely a girl.  I'd have to see her to believe it.

And then she was here.  SHE.  Alayna. My fourth child.  A daughter.  A sister.  More importantly, a sister for Emerson.

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I grew up in a close-knit family-a big family.  A simple family dinner can quickly turn into an event on any given Sunday.  My sister, Melissa, is two years younger than me.  I can't remember life before her, and I can't imagine life without her.  We grew up sharing a room, staying up late giggling and making up fantastic stories.  We took piano lessons, and sang in the choir and in musicals together.  We visited each other in college and stayed out too late and drank too much.  We were each other's maids of honor when we got married.  We had babies together.  We run together.  We laugh together and we cry together.  She is my best friend, and I am lucky that I get to be her sister.

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And now?  Now I have two daughters.  They share a room, often with their twin beds pushed together.  They stay up late giggling and making up fantastic stories.  Every so often, one of them will pull me aside and say, "Mom, we need a girl day."  And we go.  We get dressed up and curl our hair and put on lipstick and go. It makes me happy that they want to be together.  I hope they stay best friends forever.

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Alayna went from five to six this year.  She very hesitantly started Kindergarten last Fall.  The first few months were rough.  Yes, I said months.  It was painful for her to go, and it was painful for me to make her go.  She was a shy girl who didn't know another child at the school, and she could identify about three letters in the alphabet.  Somehow, between September and June, Alayna became ALAYNA.  Somewhere, everything clicked.  That shy girl who had come home crying every day from school, now came bounding off of the bus with tales of Kindergarten and all of her wonderful friends.  And those three letters she knew?  Amazingly, those three letters not only turned into 26 letters, but into words and sentences and paragraphs and books.  That's right-SHE reads ME books at night before bed.

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You might know that I am slightly competitive.  I think it's safe to say that Alayna also has some of that competitiveness in her.  I'd like to recommend that you not tell her no.  That word doesn't register in her brain, and you'll probably end up changing your mind.

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A month ago, she joined the swim team, along with her three older siblings, and she couldn't even swim the length of the pool.  Three weeks later she was competing in the eight-and-under backstroke and completely amazed me.  When this girl sets her mind to do something, she does it.  From cartwheels to dirt bike riding, this girl is up for the challenge.

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So, do you know that girl with the crazy-curly blonde hair?  I'm here to tell you that she is so much more than just that hair.  She is emotional, curious, brave, and challenging.  She is a swimmer, and gymnast, a tomboy, a princess, a friend, a sister, a daughter.  My daughter.

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My Alayna.

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Happy 6th Birthday, Laynie Loodle! I love you!

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