I'm a couple weeks behind schedule here, and I'm very sorry about that, but since you probably won't read this until years down the road if ever at all, I'm going to give myself a pass on the lateness. Apologies, though.
Happy ninth birthday, Lucy! This year has been my favorite year of being your aunt, because I got to spend more time with you than I ever really had before, and I got to witness some things that made me so proud of the young person you are. I happened to be in New York the week that you hosted your 8th birthday party, and you invited me to come along and help your parents. I was delighted to be included, and enjoyed playing and celebrating with you. That year, you told your friends not to bring presents, but instead to bring books that you would donate. You have done things like this before, as well, asking for donations for the less fortunate instead of toys and gifts. I am SO PROUD of you for this. I'm almost 30 and I still love birthday presents and get excited about them. When I was in elementary school, if you'd suggested that I sacrifice birthday presents, I would not have taken that well. I love what a generous heart you have. That also makes you a wonderful big sister.
You are so good with Frankie and Bess, and they are so lucky to have you. You and Frankie fight sometimes, but that's pretty normal, and most of the time you love each other to bits. One time when I was visiting last year, the two of you were fighting over a dressup outfit that you both wanted to wear. Rachel was busy breastfeeding Bess, and William wasn't home, so it was up to me to be the adult in the situation. I've never been the position of authority between a children's screaming match, and I was honestly shaking in my boots a little as I walked to deal with you two. It wasn't so bad, though. I just reminded you that time is a thing that exists on a continuum, and if one of you wears the tutu now, the other one can wear it later, and everyone settled down. But it made me tense and worried to have been in the middle of your fight, and so when I heard Frankie scream a few minutes later, I was really concerned there was another storm brewing. I ran over to see what had happened, and you had accidentally knocked her over. You helped her up and gave her a hug and said you were sorry. I braced for her to lash out, but instead she just sniffed, "That's okay Lucy, but it did really hurt." I can't really explain just how precious that interaction was, but it demonstrated the way you guys care about each other so much. A lot of kids your age are too proud to apologize or admit accidents, and might just yell back at their kid siblings in such a situation. But you deescalated what I was afraid was going to get very ugly, and it actually turned out to be one of the sweetest moments I've seen. It may not seem like a big deal, but to me, it spoke volumes about your character, and your love for your sister.
During that visit last spring, William arranged for me to spend the day with you, just the two of us, which we'd never done before. You needed more clothes for your Brooklyn collection, and I was super happy to take you shopping. I couldn't help myself -- I bought you everything you wanted and then some. You totally roped me in by complimenting my taste. When you said the things I was picking out for you were cool, I would have bought you the whole freaking store. Don't get used to that, though...I really can't afford it. Still, going broke on that shopping trip with you was the best part of my visit. We also went to see "The Lorax" together, just you and me. What a great movie! I loved it, and I'm glad you loved it, too. We walked home singing the song from the end credits together. "Let it grow...let it grow..." I still listen to that song frequently and I always think of you when I hear it.
We got to hang out some more over the summer on our family vacation in Williamsburg. We spent lots of time together at the theme parks, riding roller coasters and water slides. You are by far the most daring one in the family! You had to talk Uncle A and me into joining you on some of the more insane water slides, but even though I was kind of terrified, I couldn't skip out on the opportunity to share these experiences with you. Your smile was so big! I loved being part of your great time. My favorite memory from that trip was the night we went to Busch Gardens to see the fireworks show. We were riding the swings when they started, and you and Frankie both lit up with amazement as we twirled around in the air and fireworks burst above us. It was one of those moments that just feels completely perfect, and sharing that with you and the rest of our family was so great. I may have cried a little.
You're getting really into history lately. You told me you love all the presidents. I asked if that included George W. Bush. "Oh, well, no, not him." Atta girl. You read a lot and love to play games and perform for others. You have a beautifully creative mind, and you have entertained me a lot over the years.
I was sharing some of our family history with you, and when I told you that your great-grandfather was one of 15 kids, you said that you wanted to be one of 15. I don't think your parents are on board for that, but you said if they won't have 12 more kids, then I should have them so you could have 12 cousins. You said I'd be a great mom. I may have cried again. I don't really plan to do the mom thing, but I love being an aunt so much, and I'm so honored that you think I'd make a good mom. If anyone could talk me into it, it's you, but please don't...
I don't have as many photos of you online as I would like, but I have your school picture and a picture of us on Apollo's Chariot with Uncle A pinned to the wall in my office, along with a picture you drew for me. I look at you and smile several times a day. I love you!