Today you turn fourteen. I’ve been writing these birthday letters for a long time now but I am always amazed that another year has passed. Each July I am reminded of Gretchen Rubin’s quote, “The days are long but the years are short.” Somehow, each year, while still 365 days long, seems to go faster and faster as you get older and older.
With each year, I feel more and more convinced that all the moms that talked to me when you were a baby were, in fact, right. I was so sleep deprived in those years that I truly believed as soon as I slept through the night again, this parenting thing would be simple. And all those moms said in a whisper, feeling the need to tell the truth but not to scare me, ‘Little people, little problems. Big people, big problems.’
Fortunately, for us I would change the phrase a bit and replace the word ‘problems’ with ‘decisions’. You are a smart, kind and responsible girl. The problems have been few and far between. But the decisions, for both of us, have come faster and faster. And the implications of those decisions have become bigger and bigger.
Now you are deciding what kind of friend you will be and who you will surround yourself with. You are deciding how to prioritize your schedule academically, athletically and socially. And no longer can we say that those decisions really don’t matter. You will start high school next year. Things start to ‘count’ now.
Now we are deciding if you can be in houses without parents. And if that answer changes if there are boys in those houses. If you can walk across town. If you can take an Uber. If you can be at a party where there could be alcohol. If we should track you on your phone when you are out. If we should read your texts.
Slowly though, we are starting to see that together, we are making some wise decisions. Your hard work at school is being recognized and we know that you will continue to grow academically as you move on to high school in September. You have surrounded yourself with friends that you love and who love you. This is not small feat during these middle school years. And you have embraced your love of soccer and learned through this that sometimes dedication, showing up and a good attitude are everything.
We love you so much baby girl. Have a happy birthday and a happy, happy year!