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Rebecca-

Happy 12th birthday!  For some reason I am really excited about you turning 12 this year.  Perhaps it is the fact that this past year you have really started to become more of a teenager.  Not that I am trying to make you grow up any faster but I am starting to learn how to love this new phase of life for you instead of being scared to death of it.  A few weeks ago you sat on your bedroom floor and played with your Barbies and the next day you offered to help me fold laundry.  The funny thing is, you don’t “help” with laundry like you did when you were little.  You can now fold towels to perfection and you put them away in the right spot.  It may seem minor to you but these are the little things that make me realize it is full speed ahead.

This was the first year your relationships have really changed with some of your boy friends.  You used to love to play with the boys and have slumber parties with them while building forts. (The downside of all my friends having boys.) I find you sticking to my side more when we are out with them and you look at them like they are noise covered in dirt.  The age gap is becoming more apparent and  your patience with them is thinning.  You look at it more as babysitting them than hanging out with them.

This past year you have also struggled with girls your age.  I think this is just something about this age level in general.  The claws come out and general meanness is something you are learning to deal with.  You have struggled with the fact that not everyone wants to simply get along and unfortunately I have had a lot of conversations with you that this is only the beginning.  There have been many talks about sticking up for yourself, dealing with bullies, not being a bully, walking away from situations, avoiding negative people and being a positive person.  I cannot tell you how many times I have to tell myself to take my own advice because we all struggle with this and I think kids are dealing with this at a younger and younger age.  And when you walk into school I pray that we have done everything right and given you the tools to handle situations.

Speaking of a million talks.  We have also started having more grown up talks about becoming a young lady in general.  I try to squeeze them in whenever possible and you are going to read this years from now and roll your eyes but you don’t roll your eyes now.  We talk about hormones and when girls start that time of the month.  You have announced that you are sure one of your friends at school gets her period because one day she is mean and the next she is nice.  So, we have a bit more talking on the difference between PMS, hormones and what an actual period is but we are getting there:)

Onto better things, this was the year we moved into our new home.  It took you some time and I know you still miss the apartment but you love this house.  You love having a yard, Fenway and your own bathroom.  You love sitting on the back deck with us and talking late at night.  We have slowly been decorating your room and you have made it into a rather cool tween room.  All blues and beach themed, it is pretty laid back and non obnoxious after a few compromises.  I know the hardest part about moving into this house was the fact that this house doesn’t have memories of your Dad and I in it.  One night when I went in to check on you before I went to bed, you were sound asleep and were curled up with two framed pictures.  One was of you and your Dad after one of his baseball games and the other was a picture of the three of us when you were about 18 months old.  You offered up a reason to me one day saying it fills the new room with Dad, like the apartment had.  You feel safer with that picture when you sleep and I’m not going to tell you no.

This past year you have also literally grown so much.  You have wanted nothing more than to be as tall as me and you officially are.  All giraffe arms and legs.  For a split second you wore the same shoe size as me but then those kept growing.  We have officially left the kids section and are now having to dig through some juniors stuff at the store.  There are even a few things in my closet that you can fit into.  I am totally fine with this right now because it is so much cheaper! It is also fun to see you get more of your own grown up style.  Gone are the days of little dresses and tiny shoes for sure!

You have spent a lot of time back at the farm this past year and your uncle and my Hubby have been teaching you about guns every time.  Normally you always sat on the sidelines but not anymore.  You are a pretty good aim with a 22 gauge at a beer can.  They also got you your first pink BB gun that you keep under your bed.  I have a feeling that BB gun isn’t going to satisfy you for too long as you have been eyeing a pink rifle at the store.  I’m sure a few more pleads and your uncle will buy that for you too.  You just aren’t to sure about actually hunting with him yet.  You are quite the well-rounded country girl.

In the past few months I’ve noticed how much more you are in to conversation.  You offer up much more than 2 word answers in response to questions or general conversation. You actually ask how my day went, remember details and follow up later.  You are also cracking us up with your quick remarks back at us.  It is just more and more of a personality coming out.

Part of a parents job is looking like we know what we are doing when half the time we have no clue.  We are winging this together most days and I think things are turning out okay.  I’m so proud of the young lady you have become and can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

We love you.  Happy Birthday.