You are ten years old today.
Last month we had our first, real, public this-is-your-life-get-out-of-my-way-mother moment. For the world to see. Well, our beloved town and the theater group we're a part of.
You were recently the Red Queen in a local production of Alice in Wonderland. In this version you start the second act, explain what was about to happen to Alice and generally got the audience back into the groove after a twenty minute intermission spent eating Skittles and brownies, buying raffle tickets and listening to blue grass music.
Let's just say that was a tall order for a then 9-year-old. Only something a mother would ask. A mother who was also the director. A first time director. So there was no pressure on either of us.
Two weeks before our "paying" shows, the theater company performed a free show for a local autism support network. Over 60 individuals came and got to experience live theater. You were just perfect. You consistently and clearly delivered your lines with a very royal attitude.
And in my mind - the director's mind - you peaked.
Because after that show you started doing all these weird things. You would pull a Mae West with one line (like you knew who Ms. West was), then go into a Lucille Ball bit, then flail about and suddenly be still. You would drop the last word of a sentence in an attempt to be super dramatic which only made it harder for people to hear your jokes.
You were clearly bored. You had memorized your lines in January. It was the end of March and you
not only knew the Red Queen inside and out - you would probably knew what moves she would maneuver on the chess board. You were bored.
And I was frantic. As the director - and your mother - you looked like a character mess. There was no rhyme or reason to what you were doing on stage. The entire tech/dress rehearsal week was agony for me. I'd talk to you about this at home so as not to embarrass you in front of the group. You'd nod, repeat a line as I suggested, and then promptly continue your whack job delivery.
The show opened for four performances and you shined. Every single person who spoke to me marveled at your stage presence, your "look at me" quality, your funny character.
I've been stupid enough to bemoan to a few friends that you went off the rails as an actor.
The thing is you didn't go off the rails. You never do. You are just so amazingly confident that you don't care what 120 people in an audience think. Or what your mother thinks. You will just experiment and try new things.
You are by far the most fearless person - man or woman, adult or child - I know.
And being your mother is the greatest gift I could ask for. A bit of a stomach-turning-will-I-survive?-ride but I would not trade this for anything.
Welcome to double digits, Darling Daughter.