You are 11

My daughter outside in the winterYou are 11. I ask how did this happen and yet, I know. The minutes turned to days and the days turned to months and BOOM! 11. I joke about keeping you my little girl forever, but the truth is enjoy you more and more as you grow.

You are so many things, responsible, loving, caring, kind, curious, adventurous and shy, (don’t ask me how those last two pair off, but somehow you make it work). You have a wonderful sense of humor and seem to have picked up just a touch of sarcasm. I don’t know where THAT came from.

My daughter hopping in a pink polka dot gift bagI swell with pride when you take a chance and succeed and I ache with all my heart when someone hurts your feelings. As we stare down your teenage years, I’m excited and fearful. I’m excited to see what you will do, I am fearful because I know that challenge lies ahead for both of us and there is no way to avoid it. By necessity, we will separate, but it is my hope that ultimately that separation will make our relationship stronger.

In some ways, you posses a self confidence that I envy other times, I wish you’d put yourself out there more. I worry that your need for perfection and utter abhorrence for failure sometimes holds you back from trying new things. Yet, when you try something you work hard to be the best you can be and that is admirable.

My daughter and I at The Polar Express, December 2010We are similar in some ways, but ultimately, we are different people and I work daily to respect that. You may look like me, but you are not me. You are you own wonderful, intelligent, stubborn, emotional, fantastic person.

You’ve made it so easy to be your mom, sometimes I am startled when things get off track. Bear with me as we make our way. I love you Fish and I am so proud of the girl that you are and the young woman you are becoming.

Keep on being you!

Happy 11th Birthday,

Love,

Mom

A four photo by four photo collage showing my daughter throughout her 11th year. She is with her American Girl Doll, Climbing a rock wall, roller skating, at the beach, selling items for charity eating cake and being her

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