When people ask how old you are, one of the first comments I get is that I cannot be old enough to have an eight year old.
And they are right.
Enough time cannot have passed for you to possibly be eight. I feel I'm the same age I was when you were born and you are the one that has grown. You are now all legs and arms and ribs and calic-ed blonde hair and giant blue eyes.
I love this age. For a while, I wasn't sure we'd ever get to this point, the point where things are easy. You're a strong willed child and it felt for a while that we spent the years jumping from one battle to the next. However, this age of eager to please, sweet as can be, offer to help, do chores without being asked is just a beautiful thing.
One of the things that warms my heart is your new love of reading. I come across you sitting in bed, in front of the window, curled up on the couch or a corner, your nose in a book. I have to smile, not just because of how animated you get while you read, but because this reminds me of myself as a child.
You are passionate about your interests. If something catches your attention, you go for it full-throttle. There is bird-watching. Not only do you have the bird identification book, but also binoculars and lists of birds you haven't seen yet. Lately, your interest has been origami. You attempt to check out every book on the subject, both at public library and your school library. I find bits of folded paper on every flat surface in the house. I admire your passion and dedication. And I do the best I can to nurture it, because this will carry you far.
The same dedication you show to your hobbies manifests itself as old-fashioned stubbornness in other arenas. There is no getting you to eat a food you have decided (sometimes arbitrarily) that you don't like. I have tried every method known to parenthood to get you to eat and overcome your pickiness, but to no avail. And there is no predicting it: today it's blueberries, yesterday it was peas, tomorrow who knows. You are also incredibly clever. You have decided that making your top bunk bed is just a little too difficult. Your way around that? Sleep on top of the covers.
This is you.
This fiercely passionate, dedicated, loyal, stubborn child. At times I'm frustrated, wondering how to get you do just do what I want you to do. But then I have laugh, because honestly, where do I think you got those traits from? I will just continue to direct that stubbornness, support the dedication, and make you eat your peas.