She'll be turning 10 on Tuesday. The double digit rite of passage in our big blended family is inheriting the job of doing your own laundry. With her older siblings it was a joyus time for me. Their entrance into the world of responsibility seemed always to collide with the stormy onset of "tweendom". They voiced their displeasure in black, gray and navy blue. I rejoiced in not having to partake in the care and maintainence of their gloomy wardrobes.
I'm finding myself a little glum about giving up my daughter's laundry, unsure of whether it is the thought of slowly releasing my baby to the world, or whether I will simply miss the joy of reeling out each pair of colorful leggings, every mis-matched sock and bit of sunshine into the breeze. She has informed me that she's ready, and that furthermore, (her word choice), she could have done it two years ago. No doubt she could have. She can and will do so many things. She talked at 5 mos, spoke in full sentences at 1 year, "best friended" our now 93 year old neighbor at age 2, (they continue to be best friends today), explained and expressed her very strong opinions in favor of love and marriage equality to our entire daycare at age 4, and developed her first "non-profit" program on the playground in first grade. By second grade she was an active member of the Arbor Day foundation, and by third grade she was on the mailing list of every animal advocay group imaginable. For her 10th birthday party, she decided that in lieu of presents, she would like for friends to make donations to the Black Feather horse rescue in Plymouth. Instead of goodie bags, guests will receive shirts from the rescue. Instead of cute decorated plates, we will increase our donation on her behalf. And so, her party will be what I wish every 10 year old's party could be- a gaggle of giggly girls(plus the one boy to whom she's been a loyal friend since kindergarten) eating, laughing, making cards to accompany their donation, and roasting s'mores around a campfire.