*This is part of my 35 Letters Project. It's an excerpt from something I wrote for a recent birthday.
My Dear Sweet M,
It’s your birthday! You’re getting older and you’ve all but lost any anticipation for festivity. This realization makes me wistful for the magic of childhood, but I understand it because most of us lose it somewhere along the way. Knowing this still doesn't make the fact that you're growing up any easier to accept. I couldn't entirely believe it when you said you didn't want a celebration of any kind.
“It’s not that big of a deal, Mom…”
But guess what? YOU are a big deal.
You, my first baby, who are wise and steady; calm and slow to get angry. It’s not your first nature but you’ve learned to exhibit self-control and kindness to others even when they don't do the same.
While you would not have liked a big party, (that 13-girl sleepover one year was overwhelming!) I invited your close handful of friends to come over after school and share your cake. When you saw them sitting on your new and long-awaited bed, the look on your face was one of happy surprise. I was grateful you ended up having a fun day.
I not-so-secretly love the ways we are the same. Our passion for having music mark our days like a perpetual score... Our ability to read for hours on end because books could literally be our life if we didn’t have to leave our beds... Our need for regular solitude to recharge and ready us for reality...
Even more than our similarities,
I love what makes you, YOU.
You love history. You love photography. You love debate. You love dance. You dream of international living and being fluent in French. You earned every inch of your black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and I could not have been prouder of you simply because of the commitment to excellence you exhibited in your training. When you bring that focus and dedication to other areas in your life, you will continue to find success.
Being your mom is a wonderful journey. It's a true privilege to offer you the broadest possible outlook on life. To expose you to as many ideas and options as I can find, so that you truly may have the world at your fingertips. When I was your age, I simply didn't know there were so many possibilities available. I had dreams but didn’t know to make plans for them to turn into more. I’m dedicated to helping you find your path and prepare for whatever life is coming your way.
I'm so proud of you! Of the girl you are. Of the girl you will become. Of the girl you've always been.
I love you.