I think I have started off every one of these letters telling you how much you have grown in the past year but it is true every time. Funny how kids do that. This year you officially entered that tween stage though. Your toys collected a bit more dust as you have started out growing most of them. I think you spent your last winter wearing footie pajamas to bed which makes me so sad. Instead you insist upon wearing a bra at all times. Yes, I told the internet that. A bra that you don’t need quite yet but you think you need to wear, even at night. We have the same conversation every night over this “They will never grow if you don’t take that thing off!”
There are still times you reach for my hand when we cross a street and you still want to cuddle on my lap in the mornings when you wake up. I hold my breath in these moments, cherishing the little girl you still are in my heart.
At ten years old you learned how to drive my truck in a pasture. You have celebrated with two aunts who learned they were pregnant. You danced with me at my wedding and fell asleep curled up next to me late that night. You spend hours listening to Taylor Swift in your room while you write your own song lyrics. You have grown at least 10 feet tall and are over the moon at being able to share shoes with me. We can no longer talk in code around you about things because you are just completely to smart for it. You have simply grown up.
This past year you have found your voice a bit more with our family situation. It has been hard watching you find your footing on all of this and I will continue to worry each day. All I can do is hope we are giving you the tools to handle it and pray that you will make good choices. We talk a lot about that, making good choices. I feel like we are going into this time where we talk more about who you want to grow up to be. There is a lot more discussion on how your actions affect others and goals to have in life. Seems like a lot for a girl turning 11 but that is where life has led us.
Today is the last day of your second go around on 4th grade and this time has been much easier. I am so very proud at how you have prevailed in school and turned it around. It was a tough road and you came out at the other end such a trooper. In the long run I think you learned more lessons than you even realize. You have found a place in your new school that has helped keep you grounded and for that I will forever be grateful to your teachers.
In the past year we saw how time changes and life moves on. I married a new man and your Dad got engaged to another woman. Actions that show our lives going on in another direction but the wonderful thing is how great we are at co-parenting you. On the nights I say how much I miss you or I’m struggling Dad is there to listen and I want you to know that. I want you to know that when you aren’t with us we still worry together about our little girl. Time will never change that. You have merely gained more people who support you in this life and love you.
In a few weeks we will move out of your childhood home, the one we shared with Dad. You are excited but sad at the same time. You have begged me to keep your Winnie the Pooh print. The same one that was in your nursery. The same one you refuse to give up. It makes me laugh that you are so attached to it. I’ve learned there are things that you want to keep for your own memories and things I want to keep for my own memories. It is funny what each one of us gravitates towards. You have proudly packed up toys for the next baby and it makes me smile knowing you are okay with where life is taking us.
I am so very proud of the person you are becoming. You are meant for great things and I know you will continue to prevail. Here is to another year in the books and to the next one. We all love you very much.
Happy Birthday my baby. I love you.