I’m not quite sure how it happened, but it feels like just yesterday you were this girl:
Today has come so quickly. You have grown into a delightful young lady. One that I am so proud to call my daughter. Twelve years ago I had no clue how having you in my life would change it. This year, between eleven and twelve, has been my most favorite. (Yes, I know I say that every year)
You get my sense of humor, like no one else. It does get you into trouble sometimes. Completely unfiltered, when you look at me and say “Oops did I say that out loud?”. I adore how you laugh uncontrollably at yourself (and me), not having a care in the world. Your laugh is infectious, and I sometimes wait with a bated breath on what will come out of your mouth next.
I love your sense duty. How you intuitively seem to know when someone needs you. Last month when you saw a non-verbal child and stayed with them as you directed others to find his parents. Not a lot of kids would know what to do. Yet you handled the situation with calm and authority. More than that you prevented a little boy from getting lost.
I love how you craft and don’t expect me to join in. Actually I love how you expressively tell me NOT to join you.
I love how you volunteer for anything. Social at school? You’re there. Joining me on a race course? Not only are you there, but you get volunteer of the course. Walking for a cause, helping a neighbor or stopping to open a door for someone. You give your all, without thought, and you enjoy every moment of it.
I love that you sit on the counter next to me as we talk about your day (who needs chairs?). That you want to talk to me and listen. That although homework is tough, you never give up. I love that you forgive me for signing you up for (insert something here) without telling you.
I love your sense of forgiveness: when I am late, when I am tired, when I take you to a birthday party on the wrong day and/or time (sadly, more than once).
I admire your ability for public speech. I am not sure there are many 11 year-olds that can get up in front of a bunch of strange adults and speak for 7 minutes, fully informing them on whatever topic you have chosen: Ruby Bridges, bunnies, horses or Chincoteague. You do your research, you practice (and practice) and then using very few cue cards you will the regional division and gain 2nd place in the State finals.
I love your ability to accept people for who they are and not what society might dictate. Your collection of friends is eclectic: those who are pale, brown, black, have two moms (or dads), have a physical disability or a hidden one. You have friends that are Catholic, Christian, Muslim and Jew. You have friends that span the age of four to eighty-four. You never seem to change your behavior to fit your friends, but I see how your behavior affects them.
I love your imagination. How even at this age, you will play for hours creating fairy houses or Barbie worlds. That you see the magic in this world. I am astounded at your ability to see only the light and not the dark. That you wave to mermaids in the ocean, and see diamonds in the stars.
I love your self confidence. If you do not understand something, you do not hesitate to tell your teacher/tutor/instructor. After they explain if it is still not clear, you tell them. You speak for those in the class that are too shy or afraid of looking dumb. You refuse to conform, wearing what is comfortable and not what is in fashion. You are an individual, something a lot of girls forget. Your sense of self is amazing to me.
I love your sense of adventure. That you acknowledge your fear but determination doesn’t let that fear stand in your way. You live life to it’s fullest. You remind me of your father, loving being in nature than in a museum. Your planning of our summer adventures (that totally took me out of my comfort zone) was impeccable. I cannot wait to see what you plan for our next trip.
I simply love you, from your toes to your hair. I love you from the sparkle in your eye to the depth of your soul. I love that I can still carry you to bed at night, and that you still want to snuggle. I love that you would rather read next to me, then alone in your room. I love that you still want me to walk you to the bus stop and kiss me when you say goodbye. I love listening to you practice your guitar, and enjoy hearing your laughter with your band.
I love that you are twelve years old today and all you asked for was a pizza date and movie with me. I love that I am looking forward to watching you grow this next year and so very thankful that I am along for the ride.
Happy birthday my sweetheart, my partner in crime and the person I am most proud to call my daughter.