They said don’t blink, but I didn’t understand. And before we knew it, you filled up two full hands. 

On this eve of you turning 10, I am emotional and grasping for the right words to convey. There’s no way to truly paint how wonderful this past decade was, but l will try to anyway. 

Oh, one, how we completely embraced you. This was the age of counting up by months and eyeing every little thing you do. One was full of endless excitement and cheering you on, right on cue. Sometimes it was overshadowed by utter exhaustion as we realized your energy was anything but low. We now know we completely took for granted the adage “that the years were short,” because most of our days felt like they moved, oh, so slow.

Because suddenly you were two! And honestly, we feared you. Out came your personality and fierce independence. We became aware that we lacked a full understanding of what you always needed and were met with similar resistance.

If I could turn back time, I’d do two over with a little more compassion.

I’d learn to listen better and help guide your waning attention. Because, you see, the twos aren’t terrible; we were just both lost and confused. At how much we didn’t understand each other and how much we each really wanted to.  

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Then there’s the one no one warns you aboutthe threes just angrily stomped on in. We thought we survived because we arose from two intact, but the the terribles were just about to begin. This year featured you, the pint-sized teenager, and your new favorite overused word “NO!” You suddenly found your voice, and you told us how you were feeling all the time. At three, you dealt us every single blow.

But then the storm passed, and you were four. You were your own person now, and we knew this age had so much more in store. Four was amazing in more ways than we could ever say. Wait until you get here, new moms, you’ll sing when you see the day. You were learning, growing, and so full of excitement; we all but forgot about three’s harbored resentment. But you still occasionally reminded us, like the no-limits solider you were. And man, oh man, I’m just warning you, mama, they can still outsmart you at four, so you better prepare while you still can.  

Then like magic, you filled up a full hand.

We were high on five because we made it! We survived the formative years, and we could finally see our ship sailing to dry land. Five was absolutely wonderful; I’ll always cherish how much love you had and your eagerness to grow. But little did we know that even more changes were coming, and these would come in any way but slow.

School, social, sports and schedules, these next few years all started to blur into one. Six, seven, eight, nine all just kind of whirled together . . . and now here we sit on the verge of a full decade done.

You’re turning a full two hands now–still very much a little boy in how we see you.   

But I also realize that with 10, there’s so much more you’re just about to do. You’re between being who you were and who you are becoming. And quite honestly, I don’t think I’m ready for these next few ages when you’ll hit the ground running.  You’re somewhere between youthful innocence and life’s lessons learned new. You’re between not wanting to grow up, but also wanting to be anything but little anymore too.   

And the harsh reality is, at least for me, 10, you really did come all too soon.  

With 10 will come more big, little changes, somewhere I will see you slowly advance. Like the toy you one day love, and then the next won’t even be given a second glance. There will also be other changes that will come suddenly and sting in ways I’ll never understand. Like the hand you will no longer reach to hold and realizing you have now certainly become a little man.

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It’s true what they say, time is a thiefone that just keeps taking minutes all too fast. I want to take back all the distracted moments Time the Thief took from methe ones I missed because I thought they’d always last. But I also proclaim that going forward, I can embrace all the big and little memories we will make. Especially before we get to a new version of you, I promise I’ll never again make this mistake.

At 10, you are truly such a wonderful person, the kind I prayed you would one day be.

You’re kind, strong, inquisitive, knowledgeableall these things and more I hope you will always see. You’re still testing boundaries but also inspiring others with your view. And most of all, you’re embracing this life you made full of living–for this, I am so very proud of you.

You’re a full double digits now, and despite how quickly this all happened, I’m thankful for what it took to get here. We’ve got a full armful of memories we’ve made this far and a longing to keep the next moments near.   

Ten, I didn’t see you coming, but I’m being as strong as I can be. Eleven, I know you’ll be here soon, so for now, 10, please be gentle to me.

Pri Walker

Pri Walker is based out of Orlando, Florida, where she indulges in all the simple joys that life has to offer. She, her husband, and their two young children are avid world travelers, fun seekers, and always yearning to learn through experience. Her passion to write comes from her love to get lost in a good book. She is proud owner and writer at Adventure Somewhere, where she documents her family's travels and inspires others to take the trip.