Last year your new teacher asked us to describe you to her. Brevity is not a virtue of mine and there is nothing I like to talk about more than my kids, but I had mercy on her. I simply told her you are “the oldest child of two oldest children” – enough said.
Birth order theories are widely disputed in psychology circles. Research results are mixed and the theory is often thought to be inaccurate and misleading. But so is trying to explain an entire person with something as clumsy as words on a page.
Be that as it may, these words fit you to a tee: responsible, conscientious, organized, accurate, rule follower, nurturer, worrier, respectful… The teenage years are sneaking up on us, but I’m not worried about you, because you have such a good head on your shoulders (your dad however – he’s going to be a mess). You are already becoming an amazing young woman.
I hope that you will continue to tell me, in exhaustive detail, everything about your day (but not movies – because frankly I need the summary to take less time than the movie itself). For everything else I’ll take all the details, laid out in proper chronological order with glimpses of your quirky humour. Not only because I like to know about your life, but because your perspective is so kind and positive. You truly believe the best about people and find the good in them.
It warms my orderly little heart when you write your schedule on the white board in your room (even during the summer when the hours are filled with tasks like: wake up, go outside, read, play with Paige). You also have a habit of writing “notes to self” all over the place. If I can’t remember the date or what we have planned, you can outline it all for me.
You went to overnight summer camp for the first time this year. Although your dad was crying in his soup (literally), I was proud of you for being so independent, but I can’t believe how much we missed your help while you were gone. We try not to rely on you too much, but you’re just so dependable and helpful. I know whatever career or life you choose, you will make yourself indispensable to those around you.
Far too soon you will be grown and gone, but you’re still my little girl now, so here’s my “advice to an eleven year old”:
Get Messy – From one control freak to another, life is full of interruptions and changes in plans. It’s not fun for people like us, but sometimes the best stuff comes this way. Enjoy the moment you are in and let the future take care of itself. A schedule is ALWAYS a good idea, but only as a guideline not a strait jacket. With God’s help you can handle whatever life throws your way. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matt 6:34
Stand Up – It’s almost impossible to offend you, except for your sister who can do it by breathing in your general direction. Apart from C’s special gift, there is very little that ruffles your feathers. More than any of your qualities, I think this one will serve you well in life, since the most miserable people in the world are over-sensitive, victim types. Being that easy going you are able to maintain genuine friendships with kids who struggle to get along with everyone else. But there is a time to stand up for yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect and sometimes you need to demand it (in a gentle, respectful way I’m sure).
Speak Up – You are not shy in the traditional sense. You aren’t afraid to try new things, even when you don’t know many (or any) people. You are quiet and prefer to stay in the background, especially in a new situation. There is nothing wrong with quiet – I married quiet – and I could probably stand to embrace quiet a little more in my life. But I worry that people will miss out on knowing you, because you don’t speak up. Remember the Hoos Rules for social situations: smile, look them in the eye, speak loudly and make the first move. It’s like dance, the more you practice – the better and easier it gets.
So here’s to my oldest – I’m so proud of you!
Happy 11th Birthday L!