It always surprises me that milestone birthdays take my breath away a little bit, even though I've done them before with the older kids. But they do. 10 years ago this little bundle of love and contradiction entered the world and our family has been so much the better for it.
Oh, Annika. As usual, I'm not sure what to say. You are just So Much. So much love, so much brain, so much angst, so much independence, so much need, so much creativity, so much procrastination, so much lazy, so much busy. You are one of the most complex people I know, and I say that with love. I understand you the least of my children, but I think understanding you is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. It can't be done. Instead I just love you. I hold you tight when your emotions overwhelm you. I listen to your ideas as they come flowing from you all day long. I try to help you understand how to balance your need to create and be and live your own life with playing well with others and being respectful of their needs (aka "the house is not your garbage can"). I marvel at all the places your mind goes and try to help you channel all of that toward productive goals. Mostly though, I just love you.
You're going to do great things, my girl. I'm just buckling in for the ride. Happy 10 years, Annika. I'm forever grateful for you.