To my amazing daughter on her eleventh birthday. (11!!! How?!?)
The tears have been flowing for weeks now, just thought of another year passing by makes me incredibly happy and at the same time sad that you are growing up.
Eleven years ago, on an extremely hot day, I received the best phone call in the entire world. As you know, we were surprised to learn of your birth and I was so shocked that I forgot to ask our case worker if you were a boy or a girl. From that very moment, you have filled my heart with more joy than you can possibly imagine. I can still see myself crying happy tears as I told your dad we were parents of a 5 lb 14 oz baby girl.
This past year has been your best year, yet. I say yet because as this sun sets on 10 and rises on 11, I can see the wonderful young lady you are and will become. You have grown so much this year and I am so proud to call you my daughter.
You are loyal, fierce, kind, brilliant, and empathetic. These characteristics are a rare find in a "tween." You proved this year to have a strong moral compass. Your sense of right and wrong has guided you through many instances when you could have chosen the wrong path. Even if it separated you from the pack, you chose to make a decision that was right for you. You are blessed to know at such a young age that being true to yourself will carry you much farther in life.
Your loyalty is unmatched. You believe in your family, your friends, your teachers. You find the good in everyone. You trust. You do not waver in your choosing. And while along the way, you will find not all children are like you, your belief in second chances will continue to show others what we already know - your loyalty is a rare find.
Your patience and love for your sister was remarkable this year. Having a sister with special needs is tough to navigate and even though she can be annoying, you matured this year in a way that is indescribable. Playing American Girl dolls, including her in video games, writing her a letter from camp, waving hi to her from your musical, supporting her swim goals, letting her sleep in your room, are all ways you've shown her the bond of sisters cannot be broken. Being a big sister has a level of responsibility that you sometimes complain about, but I cannot think of a better big sister. You, my daughter, have proven you will always be in your sister's corner.
This past year you rocked fourth grade and showed us that even though you still like to put forth minimal effort, when challenged....You are capable of reaching the stars. You are humble. No matter how many As came home, you never bragged. You know grades are not everything, but effort is. You learned this last year that respect is earned when you show people your best self. You definitely have shown your best self and continue to shine.
Responsibility is earned like respect and trust. You have become an incredibly responsible young lady. Whether it was learning to stay home alone, cook a meal, or being a mommy's helper you have shown up, done what's right, and proven once again what an incredible person you truly are. You always go above and beyond and that is something to be admired.
Your big brown eyes continue to shine and let people see your heart. You can see a person and what they stand for in their eyes and since the day you were born, your eyes have shown us your captivating soul and all it is capable of. You are a true force, not to be reckoned with. You stand up for the underdog and fight injustices. You do not let anyone's beliefs change yours and you stand tall in your convictions.
Your confidence was unmatched this year and I pray it continues to grow. You rocked the softball field and even took the pitcher's mound. While my heart raced with this change, you walked out their with pride, humility, and a smile. When games didn't go your way, you lost gracefully and learned from the experience. I do believe one of the greatest accomplishments this past year has been your ability to learn from your mistakes. You are not perfect (no one is). You still sass, argue, hate cleaning your room, get frustrated to the point of no return, pout, make mountains of mole hills, BUT with each set back, mistake, life lesson- You Learn. There are grown ups that still make the same mistakes each day so at the new age of 11 for you to know what you did wrong and try to change your behavior is a feat you should be very proud of.
My personal favorite change this year has brought is your humor. I am so in love with your sarcasm and ability to laugh at yourself. You are finally starting to give daddy and me a run for our money in this department. You are witty, quick with a response, and learning how and when to throw out a joke. We have been patiently waiting to see this side of you and please know we enjoy every minute of joking with you, even when you make jokes about us.
I cannot believe you are ELEVEN. I cannot believe you are entering your last year of elementary school. I cannot believe how quickly this time has gone and in eleven more years, you will be a senior in college! Every year brings a change in you, each year I love you more than the year before, and this year is no different.
Please know on this 11th birthday -
You are the brightest star in the sky.
You are the sunshine needed on a stormy day.
You are the light when it is dark.
You are amazing, strong, resilient, and pretty.
Your Bubbe once told me being beautiful is only skin deep, but to be pretty is to be pretty on the inside and out. On this birthday, and for every day that follows remember you are a perfect example of what pretty looks like.
Happy ELEVENTH birthday to the first to call me mom, the first to hold my hand, to the first who stole my heart. I love you and cannot wait to see all that you accomplish in the next 365 days.
Happy birthday. I love you SO much.