Each year, I mark the girl’s birthdays here with a letter and thoughts from the year. Today feels like a really big one. Our baby is eleven!
I remember when you turned ten. I thought you were getting to be so big. Double digits after all. Today you turn eleven and this milestone feels so much bigger. You are a tween, far closer to your teen years than the toddler ones.
This weekend, you and I traveled to Boston to do what you love most- dance. You were gorgeous on stage and I love seeing you there. But even more, I love seeing you in your classes and with your friends. This weekend was a perfect way for me to think back on all that you have become this year. You worked hard as always in school and you have amazing friends there. Many that you have loved for as long as you can remember. But this year, for you, was all about dance and the lessons that dance has given you.
Dance always came easily to you until you took a big leap (pardon the pun!) to a new studio where you knew no one and realized that, to meet your goals, you had a lot of hard work to do. Many times over the course of this year, I have thought that you were being too hard on yourself. That perhaps your goal and your plan were too big a stretch (sorry- that was also not intentional but there really isn’t a better word!). I have second guessed myself and my role as your guide through this. But never once have you wavered. Never once have you considered quitting. Never once have considered doing anything other than working harder. You are laser-focused on what you want and how to get there.
Yesterday as we drove home you sat, like the big girl you are, in the front seat beside me. I glanced over and saw you put both arms behind your head as you leaned back and closed your eyes. My mind raced back to picture you in your infant car seat still facing backwards. I would watch your reflection in the tiny mirror we had attached to the back seat as your chubby arms reached up behind your head. This was always the sign that you were about to fall asleep. In those days, I worried that if you slept in the car, you would not take a nap. You would not fall asleep that night. Yesterday, I was able to just watch, knowing now as I didn’t then, to trust you. You know what is right for you. Of course, you still need me to guide you but you know yourself. You know what you want. And you know that you will achieve it.
You have learned so much this year but I think perhaps you have taught me more. I love you for all that you are and for all that you bring to me each and every day.
Happy Birthday baby girl. May this year be everything that you want it to be!