As you were heading to bed tonight you lit up and shared with me how you had been thinking about all of the incredible things that you did while you were 10. Your first triathlon, coming in third place in Destination Imagination, and learning the violin were the the examples that you gave me. And you referred to being in dance class as feeling magical. The excitement and pride in your eyes while you spoke were a birthday gift right back to me. Because there is nothing I want more for you than for you to be happy, healthy, and proud of yourself. You won’t know this now…well maybe you will because you are one insightful kid after all…but feeling that way, and acknowledging those feelings, is a better gift to yourself than any american girl doll could ever be. And I’m not just saying that because your mother screwed up and the doll didn’t get here on time either. Well mostly.
The year between 10 and 11 has been a year of bigger contrasts than any year before it. Neither of us likes to think about the first half, do we, so it is tempting to pretend that it didn’t happen. But to do that would be to dismiss the challenges that you have overcome and the amazing strength that you have inside you. And that would be an injustice. A year ago was hard. We were late for school every day, there were more tears than smiles, and we both felt pretty hopeless about how to make things better. I’m sorry that you had to feel the way you did. I failed you as a mom by not figuring out what you needed much sooner. I will always regret that.
The second half of the year feels like a dream. Watching you take steps that were tentative at first, both of us looking around waiting for the bubble to burst, and then more confident as time went on, was truly special. I’ve been able to see the amazing person that you are, with all of your talents and gifts, unclouded by side effects and sadness. So many times a week I find myself staring at you in complete awe of the person you have become.
You make me laugh with your sense of humour – your wit and dry commentary caught me completely by surprise. I hope that you share your humour with your peers, except that I don’t think other kids your age are as wise beyond their years as you are. They probably won’t get it, but know that when you are older it will be one of the things people love most about you.
Except your kind heart. That quality is going to be hard to compete with. Your concern for animals and nature, and the fact that you spend your time thinking about ways to solve global warming. You always notice when someone in the family is having a hard day, and you do what you can to help.
I’m seeing such a sense of responsibility blossom in you. You start your homework right after school without even being asked. And boy is there a lot of it compared to last year. But you never complain, even when you see your sisters have more time to watch TV. You offer to help me with chores and you do your assigned tasks willingly. That’s more than I could say about myself!
I love the way your mind works. You are a problem-solver with a unique way of seeing things. You are going to do great things in this world, and I can’t wait to see what they are.
Happy birthday Molly! I hope you get all the wishes you make when you blow out your candles and that being 11 is your best year yet.