Kirsten

Happy birthday to the raddest 10-year-old in the world

Once there was a girl who at first glance, seemed like any other 10-year-old. She didn’t possess unusual ability, nor was she considered to be a child prodigy by any means.

She wasn’t the sort to seek out the limelight; even though she would smile when the occasional praise came her way. She wasn’t driven by the achievement of an audacious life goal as precocious kids often are. When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, her response would be a shrug, accompanied by an “I don’t know yet…something good that helps people.

She was bright, considerate, down to earth (perhaps a little too much?), had a fantastic sense of humour, always wanted to do the right thing and was generally a delight to be around. I suppose all of these qualities made her blend in even more, which suited her just fine.

Sometimes, she would wonder what it would be like to be someone special. “That would be really cool,” she thought, “if I were a princess or a president or a movie star.” But those thoughts didn’t stay for long, because then she would think, “I’m just me, and that’s kind of okay too.

What she didn’t know was that it was more than kind of okay. People couldn’t quite put a finger on it but everyone who met her would leave feeling…different. They smiled a little wider, skipped a little as they walked away and felt the sun shine a little brighter. She had a way of bringing that extra bit of joy to the those around her. If she wanted, she could be a princess or a president or a movie star, but she didn’t need any of those things to be special because she already was.

If you asked her mom, she’d tell you that this is straight up the best 10-year-old girl she ever knew and there’s no other kid quite like her.

Also, special is great and all but more importantly, she was loved.

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Kirsten just turned 10 I’m not sure how I feel about this – I didn’t expect so many feels with this development, to be honest. I’m here watching this baby become a grown up human being and it scares me a little. She’s only 10 but in her exceptionally grown up moments, I’m already seeing glimpses of the person she would be in 10 years time. I’m so proud of the kid she’s grown up to be and excited for what she has ahead but also a little sad because this means I’m already done with 10 years of hardcore parenting and at some point in the next 10 years, I’ll just get to sit by the sidelines and watch her be her own person.

Right now though, she’s crushing it as a 10-year-old, being all responsible and thoughtful and making amazing big kid decisions in life. She’s always been emotionally mature and thoughtful beyond her years, but I think being 10 has really worked for her.

One of the underrated things she’s exceptional at is reading situations and knowing what needs to be done and then doing it without being asked to. In basketball terms, she’d be the player with a rock solid defence, who hustles for every loose ball, goes in for the screen, has the highest steal record, and is basically the real MVP even though she doesn’t score the most.

In this family, she’s the one who immediately steps in whenever I need an extra pair of hands. Like when I’m on the phone and one of the babies is yelling for grapes or a snack, she swoops in and is all like “What do you need, Theo? I’ll get it for you, mom is busy right now.” When we were in Tokyo and Hayley was suffering from severe separation anxiety, the baby would only feel better when Kirsten was with her. “I want jie jie to sleep with me,” Hayley would announce every night. Even though she wasn’t accustomed to being kicked in the ribs by a demanding baby throughout the night, Kirsten took her babysitting sleep duties very seriously those 10 days.

And she does all of these things so seamlessly without any prompting that it’s easy to not even notice. Sometimes, I’ll suddenly realise that my life has gotten significantly easier – like the yelling has stopped in the background while I’m on the phone, or that something I needed to attend to was already done – and it’s almost always because of this amazing kid and I’m just so pleased that I get to be her mom.

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There was this time where we were trying to come up with an affectionate nickname for Kirsten. Truett has been Tru since he was a baby, Finn is Finny/Finn Finn/Fiiiiiinnnnnn (depending on the situation), Theo is Yoshi (don’t ask), Hayley is Hayley bun (probably not for much longer) but Kirsten was always Kirsten.

Tru suggested Kiki but she didn’t like it much. “How about Kir kir? Kit kat? Cookie? Curtain? Kirstenator?

I think just K will do,” she said. Somehow it suited her, it’s not fancy or too much; if there was a kid who could do with a single consonant, it was probably Kirsten.

I love this kid so much sometimes it feels like my heart can’t take it. Happy birthday, K!!

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