Julie is my reward, I used to say. She’s my easy baby, the one who put herself on a schedule at two weeks, slept thru the night ridiculously early, ate whatever I offered her, and potty trained herself just after her second birthday. She’s my social butterfly. Even with all the teenage angst that she’s decided to adopt about three years early, she’s still my tiny baby, the one who feels like the perfect culmination.

She’s brilliant, insightful and kind. Thoughtful and impassioned and private and operating on fifteen different levels. She struggles to find her place in a family filled with intensity and exceptions. She’s beautiful, so much so it’s hard not to constantly tell her so. She’s intellectual, to the point where her teacher told me not to bother with the distance learning he’s sending home – that’s geared so far below her she’ll be bored.

My Julie is endlessly dancing, loves the rain and helping in the kitchen. She walks faster than I do, and wants nothing more than to be older than she is. We got her a tablet for her birthday, and she’s on it now, texting her friends, and begging for just ten more minutes. Her hair is greenish/blue now, after begging for weeks for me to color it. And I’m thinking about her, perched on her top bunk, with her dyed hair, her tiktok account and her friends texting her non-stop.

I wouldn’t trade the last ten years for anything. And as much as I wish that she was still little, I think the next ten years are going to be even better.

Happy birthday Julianna – I love you more than you’ll ever know.

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