We are teetering on the brink of Teenagehood. And it shows. Some days you could easily pass for 16. And others I find you still playing like a girl. There is something bittersweet about these threshold years.
It seems to be flying by. Even you have wondered at how quickly time passes this year. Trust me, it only gets worse the older you get.
I will miss the child you’ve been. Not my first-born, but my first-grown. My first panic about exactly the right baby food consistency and the proper potty training technique and how exactly to broach the subject of sex. My first vicarious thrill as you stuck your little toes in the ocean and met the “Real” Cinderella and fell in love with characters in a book.
Once again you are blazing a trail for your siblings. And strangely for us as well. We don’t always know what to do or say, if anything. And I’m pretty sure you’ll have a few things to discuss with your therapist someday. Whether it is because or in spite of us, you have become a lovely young woman. And we are so proud of you!
You are kind, thoughtful, easy-going, nurturing, gracious (with the glaring exception of your closest sister, hmmm…), intelligent, and talented. We hear all the time how mature and responsible you are. But the compliment that thrills me most, are the frequent ones about your gentle, loving spirit.
We see it everyday with your baby sister and your new brother. You are like a second mommy. And though we try to protect your own childhood, you (and your other sister) have eagerly jumped in to help out when we need it. You have been such a blessing to us this past year.
As you look forward this year and childhood fades behind you, I hope that you will use that analytical brain and extreme love of planning to prepare for life you want to lead. This is the time to make many important decisions which will carry your into adulthood. Who do you want to be? What will you devote yourself to? Where are your limits and boundaries? Who is your God?
We’ve made most these decisions for you as a child, but in the next decade we will slowly hand all the control over to you. It is not easy to step back, but we are not worried. We can already see glimpses of the woman God intended for you to be and we are thrilled with what we see.
The teens are an exciting, overwhelming time and there will be times when life and hormones and emotions may seem to overwhelm you. It’s easy to simply react. So many poor decisions are made impulsively, without the bigger picture in mind. Don’t let anyone or anything take your purpose from you.
Be calm and easygoing, but don’t be a doormat.
Be kind and thoughtful, but don’t be people pleaser.
Be nurturing and generous, but find a balance.
Be responsible and conscientious, but let other’s take the lead too.
Be creative and orderly, but get messy.
Be godly and devout, but open-hearted.
Be yourself, but try new things.
More and more our role is to be a consultant rather than a manager. We will always be here to listen and advise and pray and hope the best for you. You may outgrow stuffed animals and clothes bought in the children’s section and bedtime hugs and kisses (though you WILL continue to give them, for my sake if nothing else), but you will never outgrow your Mom.
I love you. I believe in you. And I am incredibly proud of you!
Happy 12th Birthday L!
Happy 12th birthday, my almost-teenager!
It’s funny… as I sit down to write this letter, I realize that I’ve been thinking of you as older than you are. Truthfully, I have a hard time believing you still have another 365 days left of “childhood” before we officially enter a new era.
Today, you’re legally allowed to babysit for other families. You’ve been babysitting for us for a year already.
At the age when other dancers in your school graduate into the seniors’ class, you’ve been dancing with the seniors for two years already.
Though most parents would think of their 12-year-old as “one of the kids,” we think of you as a seriously contributing member of the family. Your return to school in a week and a half will not be a relief or a break for us; it will mean that our best helper is now away for most of the day, busy with school and dance and friends and youth group and everything else that fills this life that you’re building for yourself.
We’ve been spoiled by you this summer. Spoiled by your role as second mommy to The Littles, as you’ve selflessly cared for them and helped us manage the chaos of adding a toddler to the family. Spoiled by the joy it brings us to have someone else in the house that we can talk to at an almost grown-up level.
I hope you know that we appreciate all that you have given to this family this summer. I know there are times when we have been consumed by the chaos, and we have barked an order for you to “Watch The Boy!” as we have dashed off to care for someone that needs caring for, without a please or a thank you or an I love you. We’re big believers that, in a family, everyone is expected to chip in and do their share. But that doesn’t mean that we take it for granted that we do, or that we don’t notice and appreciate the sacrifices you have made.
Of all our kids, you are the one who was gung ho about adoption right from the start. You didn’t care what it might cost you personally; you knew there was room for one more in our family. You’ve backed that up since we brought S home, giving so much of your time and energy to be with him, and to help us wherever we need helping. I thank you, I appreciate you, and I love you. Again and again, I have told people that I have no idea how we would have survived the past three months without L and C. Your support has meant the world to us, and has given us a glimpse of the caring, generous young woman you are becoming. We couldn’t be more proud of you. Happy Birthday!