I really need to start writing these birthday letters ahead of time. I have been thinking of this letter since Friday, but we had a good and busy birthday weekend for you. A visit from your partner in drawing, which included an illustration of you; out to lunch and a Michael’s visit with your nonna and pap-pap; mall time and dinner with friends. Then Sunday, bacon for breakfast, a movie (okay, Casablanca, so this one was for daddy), and your chosen dinner of beefy cheesy macaroni, peas, and chocolate cake.
Your first official teen year finds you with a solid moral center and a great belief in right and wrong. We started watching LOST with you (you have a great love of the mysterious and supernatural), and boy oh boy. You have some opinions about how people should act!
I think this goes for the world outside of television as well. You and your friends seem keenly aware of the social issues and challenges facing you all as girls in this world. You are straddling the space between being a child (see the Charmander you chose at Build-a-Bear) and being a teen (see the chokers from Hot Topic). You are loyal to your friends, and you will stick up for them no matter what. So far, you have disdained romantic entanglements; you don’t even like people to hint at them with you.
School is not the highest priority for you. You love science and your science teacher, and in reading, you are learning a great appreciation for storytelling, but other than that? Homework gets done and things are checked off. You had a virus that held you out of school for nearly a week, and you were clearly frustrated that you were expected to do the work you missed.
While you have strong feelings, I can see you trying not to let them rule you. You try so hard to be fair and thoughtful. Your siblings definitely challenge you the most in this area. You are quiet and introspective, but you can be goofy. You love to laugh, and I love watching your humor develop. You can appreciate puns as well as more subtle forms of humor, and girl, your giggle is still among my top favorite sounds in the entire world.
I know that you doubt yourself at times, and I know you don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially me or your father. I am here to tell you: You are doing great. Cultivate your strengths. Continue to be curious and develop your talents. Continue to be kind to everyone around you, and stand your ground when challenged.
I got you, girl. I love you, and I am so proud of you.
Image “baby cactus” by Flora, one of her first watercolors