The other day you pointed out that the even numbered birthdays sound older than the odd ones. Maybe that’s why I can’t quite figure out how you are turning fourteen? I’ve always hoped that you would look back on these letters and they would help you remember what life was like for you during that moment in time. Something makes me think that you won’t need a letter to remember these days. It will be our 28th day of sheltering in place as we join with the rest of our community to fight the coronavirus. Days filled with family, time sitting in the sunshine on the deck, walking Daisy, watching The Fosters, enduring movie night, going to virtual school and loving Zoom dance classes.
When this all started, Caroline said, ‘If I am going to be stuck with the same people for all this time, I should have been able to pick the people.’ After saying that though, she did admit that she would actually choose you as one of her people and I know we all feel the same way.
While you are enjoying time on your own, as you always do, you are also spending lots of time with Caroline on the deck laughing and sunbathing, pretending we actually took our long awaited trip to Florida. I love looking out the window to see you quietly on your phone or your Kindle or loudly laughing with Caroline. I see all the parts I love about you in this scene. Your quiet independent self but also the person who likes to be silly and laugh and connect with the people you love.
In June, one way or another, you will have your eighth grade promotion. Your middle school years have passed with lots of joy, some tears and an immense amount of growth as a student. You have learned to organize your time in a way that allows you to succeed in school while also spending lots of hours after school dancing. You have learned to participate in your classes and to go to teachers for help even if it feels uncomfortable sometimes.
You continue to be an amazing friend. Groups are such a huge part of middle school and you have navigated this confusing territory well. You surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, a skill that alludes many people even into adulthood. I love walking past your room hearing you laugh as you Group FaceTime with your friends. And no, I still can’t figure out how to work Group FaceTime but I am so glad you have.
And of course, I can’t write one of these letters without thinking about you as a dancer. Your fierce determination to improve is motivating to everyone around you. But beyond that, you have grown into an artist who inspires people with your performance on stage. For the past few years, you have worked with your favorite teachers to create a solo. I have always been amazed at your strength and grace on stage but this year’s performance brought everyone, not just your mom, to tears. Your teachers, your friends and their moms all cried as they watched you on stage. Your emotional connection to dance is not something that can be taught. Your love of your craft comes through on stage and I am so proud of the dancer you are becoming.
I know this is a birthday you won’t forget but I hope along with all that is weird and crazy about today, you will also remember how much we all love you.
Happy Quarantine Birthday to my sweet, sweet girl.