Eleven years ago today, you looked like this.
And this is you now.
Whenever I sit down to write birthday letters, I think about my writing teacher Lisa Garrigues and I can feel her shiver. The cliches are coming. I just can’t help it. Time flies. It really and truly does. And I am worried because everyone that I talk to with older children tells me that their children’s first eleven years crept by in comparison to the next eleven. They say that once their children entered middle school, they blinked and they had graduated from college.
I truly don’t understand where the time went but I know that I am so proud of who you have become in these first eleven years.
You are an amazing friend. Just recently, you were with a friend who was sad. I encouraged you to check in with her when you got home and later that night when I read the text exchange between the two of you (Yes- I do that. Remember our deal?), I cried. The caring and maturity that those texts showed was truly amazing. You and your friends are lucky to have each other.
You are a wonderful daughter. We are finding our way through the newness of these tween years. You can love me and hate me in equal measure in the course of a few minutes. I am often reminded of your toddler years when I just never knew what would happen next. That said, when you get angry, you apologize. When you don’t listen, you explain why. When you question, you do so respectfully. I don’t think that we can ask much more than that.
You are a loving sister. You and Katherine both wish the other away at times. You want to be the youngest while Katherine wants to be the oldest. You fight in a way that as an only child, I will never understand. But sometimes, when the doors are closed, I hear Katherine asking you questions about friends and school and life and I hear you answer her with patience and care and love. And when the end of each day comes, you snuggle in bed with her and read and end the day with a hug and a kiss.
You are an intelligent student. You get embarrassed when we talk about your intelligence. This is not a part of you that you want broadcasted to the world but it is something to be proud of. You write and disucss books with a maturity I know I lacked when I was your age. I can not wait to see where you go as a reader and as a writer.
You are a determined athlete. A few years ago you joined our local travel team because one of the teams was short a player. We are quiet certain if you had tried out, you wouldn’t have made the team. And after years of commitment, dedication and hard work, you are joy to watch on the field and a true compliment to your team.
You are a person that I love to be with. This summer, we had a hard time finding a camp that sounded appealing to you so we’ve been spending a lot of one on one time together. At first I was nervous. You’ve always been pretty scheduled during the summer as both you and I need do better when we know what is coming next. But I think we have surprised each other. We’ve gone on errands, read and watched a fair amount of What Not to Wear and Love It or List It. We’ve talked and laughed and I’m feeling sad that you have some scheduled time coming up soon.
Here’s to another eleven years as wonderful as the first (with perhaps a bit more sleep thrown in for good measure!).
Happy Birthday baby girl. I love you with all my heart.