Well, my girl. How are you ten years old already? It’s hard to write this without tearing up and also because I like to keep these thoughts to myself. At such a young age, you have already taught me so much. As the first born, it was with you that I became a parent and a mother. Before you were born, we thought you might be a boy but in my heart I always knew you’d be a baby girl and my unspoken wish came true. You were simply a wonderful baby, so smiley and happy all the time – that was by far one of the best years of my life. There are so many wonderful things I love about you. I love that you are so strong-willed (or is it stubborn), you march to your own beat and you try not to worry about what others think nor do you feel you need to do the same thing as everyone else. You can be sassy, fiery and ill-tempered, particularly in the mornings – I am certain coffee is in your future! Yet, you are a teacher’s dream at school and I can understand why – you have a zest for learning and helping others learn too. You don’t feel that you need have the most friends but you do care about having a few very good ones and they matter very much to you. You love to read. A lot. From as soon as you could sit on my lap, you devoured the books in front of you. I remember coming home from the library with a bag of books and you’d sit there quietly and look through them by the age of one. You would have several memorized and could recite them by the time you were two and before you were reading. I am always trying to find something new and exciting for you to read. You are artistic – and along with your imagination and the ability to write stories and develop characters, I would not be surprised if you became a teacher/writer/illustrator. We love when we see you teaching your brothers and helping others. You love and care about animals deeply – so much that it breaks my heart because I’m that mean mom who says we cannot have a dog right now. We know that you can do anything you set your mind and heart to. You have taught me/us so much about parenting, love, compassion, understanding, acceptance – and most of all, you made room in my heart to love more. Happy 10th birthday, Ava! We love you from here to infinity.