Another year, another birthday letter. It's really starting to feel like you are growing up. It doesn't really have anything to do with your age, although that is one way to mark it. It has more to do with how you talk, and think and act.
Moms often say they miss when their kids were little. I don't miss that so much (although you were awfully cute!) as I miss how blissfully unaware you were-carefree and easygoing. The cruddy part of growing up is that those things somewhat have to fade away as we truly mature. We have to take notice of what is going on around us. We have to put thought and care and *work* into doing things that must be done. We can't always expect someone to tell us how to think and act. You are beginning to realize there is a great big world outside our safe little home, and while it many times pleases us with its pleasures and beauties, it can sometimes bite and poke and break.
But I think you are going to hold your own. I think you will make it through relatively unscathed. I know we can do this with the Lord's help. I believe in you-I believe in who you are in Christ. It hurts to see things affect you like they never have before-for every tear you have shed this year over the growing recognition of the cruelty of the world, I have cried two: one for the world and one for you. As much as I want to prevent you from seeing and knowing those things, that is not right, nor is it fair.
We will figure this out, though. I am muddling through right alongside. You've never been in this stage before, but I've never mothered a child in this stage, either. We have to give each other grace, love, mercy, tenderness. We have to forgive, over and over-both of us. We have to be honest, but not unkind. I want you to know that I am here to protect you, but not insulate you, to give you boundaries but not cages, to teach you, but not do for you, to love you unconditionally, but not free you from responsibility.
I am excited now, more than ever. You have already surprised me this year with your maturity, thoughtfulness, and responsibility. You are meeting challenges head-on, and rising to the occasion. You are trying new things, and figuring out who God wants you to be.
This is going to be a good year. The Lord has big things in store for you-not when you are an adult, but this week, this month, this year. He is using you right now, and will continue to do so as long as you stay close to Him. That is my prayer for both of us, to stay close to Him and to each other.
I love you. I'm thankful God chose for us to be family. Together we will rock this 12 thing!