9 means that you, my youngest, my baby, my only daughter, are almost a pre-teen.
(Typing that hypenated word made me gasp, then make that breathy laugh that means I'm trying not to cry. For what it's worth, I'm losing that battle.)
9 means you can take the dog for a walk by yourself, and ride your bike to friends' houses, and I only worry a smidge.
9 has you reading chapter books, studying complex science theories, diving into math problems that take more than 1 step, and asking questions that require me to answer with "let's look it up to be sure." You are leaping ahead academically and it is all I can do to keep up with you.
At 9, you are kind and respectful (most of the time), outgoing and funny, and an absolute light of my life. You are more than your age and you reinforce what I firmly believe: childhood is not a preparation for your adult life. Childhood IS life, and you, my child, are living yours well.
My hopes for you are that you always live as you do at 9: full of excitement and wonder, dedicated to the work in front of you, eager to help those who are lost or hurt, first to jump off that cliff while encouraging your friends to follow, and always happy to return to our arms and tell us all about your adventures.
I love you more than salted caramel ice cream and raspberry cream Fannie May candies.
Happy 9th Birthday, Corinne!