Eleven years ago, you made me a mom. It wasn't an exactly auspicious start considering I didn't even know I was in labor, but once you arrived, I knew I would never love anyone the same way that I loved you.
This past year has been all about gymnastics, making slime, going to sleep away camp, beauty experiments, and trying anything new. Not everything has been a rollicking success, but that never seems to bother you. You have the rare ability to laugh at yourself and ridiculous situations without taking yourself too seriously. I love when you try out new accents and spend the evening talking like an old Russian woman or Hermione Granger. You have an ear for language, and I hope that's something you continue to enjoy. Your imagination is enormous, and I get such a kick out of hearing the stories, thoughts, and questions that come out of your brain.
You continue to take such good care of the people around you. Whether it's other kids at school or me or your brother, you tend to put everyone else first. You want everyone to be safe, healthy, and kind, and you show them through example. One day at school last semester, you wrote letters to the custodians at school to thank them for taking such good care of the building and the students in it. Your heart is big enough to hold the world inside it, and I have no doubt that it will continue to grow as you get older. Malevolence is simply not in your vocabulary, and you fight for injustice, no matter whether it's real or perceived, with your whole being. I truly admire your willingness to see the best in people. You're not a pushover, though, and you know how to stand up for yourself.
In the next year, you'll be starting middle school. Thinking of middle school years makes most people shudder, so I know exactly what is coming. What I want for you more than anything in the world is for you to hold on to who you really are, no matter how hard it may get. You're so beautiful and good, inside and out, and you see life through rose-colored glasses. There are going to be people who tell you to see the world for what it really is, but I say ignore them. Life can be any way you choose to see it, and I hope that you're always able to find the sunshine. Don't ever let someone else tell you what to do or who to be: you are amazing just the way you are. Find your tribe of people who are kind and who make you want to be a better person. With good people by your side, you can do anything.
I'm beyond proud of you, baby. You bring so much joy and laughter and weirdness and hope to our lives. I'm infinitely grateful that you're mine.
I love you,