Today you are twelve. Each year when I start these letters, I get stuck after that first sentence and go back and read my letter from the year before. This year was no different. In reading last year’s letter, I was struck, as I always am, by how much has changed in 365 days and by how much has stayed the same. Last year I wrote of your strength, of your perseverance and of your love for your family, your friends and of course, for dance. All these loves hold true and if anything, over the past 365 days, I have seen you loves strengthen.
This year though, I feel like more has changed than has stayed the same. To the outsider, this change would be hard to spot. To those of us you know you well though, you have grown so very much. Of course, you have grown in height this year- I do now have to look up to make eye contact- but this is not what I mean.
You have always known what you want but this year you have learned to ask for it out loud. You have asked for space in conversations and for roles in decision making that would have passed you by just a few months ago.
You have always worked hard but this year, I have seen you grow to feel proud of this work. You have begun to acknowledge, to yourself, that your work ethic is unique and you have begun to feel proud of this.
As a student, you have always wanted the best but this year I have watched you grow to take charge of your education. Gone are the days of running back to Somerville for forgotten homework. You have navigated the transition to middle school like a star- planning ahead and organizing your weeks to make sure everything gets accomplished.
You have always been surrounded by great friends and this year has been no different. I love watching you with your dance friends and your school friends as these relationships shift as you each get older. What I love the most about your friendships is how even in these middle school years, kindness reigns.
You have always been an amazing daughter and sister and this year, we continue to love having you around. You make us laugh. You make us think and you make us want to be around you more.
Happy Birthday sweet girl. May this day and year be all that you want them to be!