Monday, November 27, 2017

Dear Josephine

Dear Josephine,

Today is your birthday!!! YAY!!

You have been keeping us updated by counting down each day this month as your big eleventh birthday approached.

Your birthday present list has been sitting beside my computer since early September (with asterisks next to the items you wanted to "consult" me on!).

You have prepped and planned for a fun birthday party with friends and willingly celebrated your day on Thanksgiving with family.

You enjoyed Mexican food, complete with a serenade and ice cream on the face, and have already tuned and taught yourself two chords on your new ukulele.

Life is good today for sure, and it is so fun to watch you grow and flourish right now.

Eleven opens a door to a new time. You're about halfway through your last year of elementary school. You're starting to make choices on activities, take on leadership roles, and be helpful even more so at home. You're at a space in your life when possibilities seem endless, growing up looks like fun, and being a kid is still awesome.

However, eleven also ushers in a tricky time. You're approaching middle school. While I know that you will be fine, you will have to deal with some hard stuff. Friends are going to come and go. Choices about activities will need to be made. Independence is something you crave, yet can't quite comprehend. You may feel lost at times. You may feel sad. You may feel upset. You may not...who knows? That's what's fun and also kind of scary about getting bigger.

Here's the good news: Your dad and I are sitting here, watching you. We love you so much and are here to help you figure things out. However, this is time in our parenting that is still somewhat new to us. You are a completely different eleven year old than your sister, and so we're trying to figure this out, too.

Let's do this together, okay? Let's give each other space and grace and encouragement. We want to guide you like we did when you were learning to ride a bike. Remember that? You might not because now, you fly across the gravel driveway now. Just a few years ago, we were the ones to steady you,  guiding you with our hands on your back to help you right your way. You may have forgotten that, but I still see that little girl on a pink princess bike every so often. Keep that determination, but know that your dad and I will always help you right your way when you feel lost.

Josie, I am certain that big things will come for you as you get bigger. I know that your spunk and your spirit and your talents will lead you down a road that I can't even imagine. You are feisty and fearless and might give your old dad a run for his money, but in the end, you will always be our dearest Josie.

Tonight, I'll tuck you in as a new eleven year old. My eyes well up with tears thinking of that first night you were born. You were so tiny, dark haired and already opinionated. I couldn't even imagine that night what you would be like as you grew up. Now that you are, I can't believe how amazing you are.

Thanks for keeping our lives interesting and busy, Josie. We are right here, always watching, always ready to guide you. We love you and are so, so excited to see where the next eleven years take you...because these first have flown by.

Happy birthday, my Sweet Jos.

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