She's three here.
Then I blinked.
Now, yesterday, at 10:10 am she turned eleven. I'm feeling a little melancholy about it. I feel like I'm on the very edge of saying goodbye to her childhood. I say this because I know at twelve everything can change for a young girl. I fell in love for the first time at twelve. And I know, I know. Everyone says, "Oh, puppy love. A first crush. Isn't that cute." As an adult, though, I can look back and say, no, I really loved him. I loved the essence of that boy, his spirit, his soul, who he was at that moment. And, although it's nothing compared to the love you have for a spouse, someone you build a life with, create children with; it was "real" love. And I'm not ready to watch her go there yet. There is so much I want to say, so much I want her to know before her heart gets opened up that way, before she gives a piece of her heart away forever.
I need to say that. That you give a piece of yourself away when you really love someone so gaurd your heart carefully. Every boy isn't worthy of you. Examine their character. Is he respectful of the other girls in your class or group of friends? Does he respect his mother? If a boy doesn't respect his mother he's never going to respect you.
I need to say that alot of girls in middle school are mean. That's just how it is. What you learn, though, as you get older, is that those girls aren't who you want to be friends with anyway. You seem to be pretty good at recognizing that already. I'm hoping it stays with you. You want to find friends that build you up, friends that want what's best for you and rejoice in your accomplishments. You want to be around people that make you want to be a better person, kids that are working hard to be the best they can be.
I need to say that being smart is a gift. Don't hide it. Don't pretend you don't know something you do just to make other people feel smarter, especially boys. Being beat out by a smart girl will just make those boys work even harder, anyway, it'll be good for them. Learn as much as you can about as many different things as you can managae. It will help you to serve the world better. Because that's really what this journey is all about. Becoming the best human being you can be so that you can help the rest of the world be the best that it can be. If you do the work within yourself you will be better able to help others.
Don't forget your faith. God loves you and is always there for you, even in the difficult teenage years to come. If you read your bible and look for the answers to the difficult life questions you come upon, you will find them there. He's there and always listening. He's the love in your heart and the love in the world that gives people hope and helps them to find their way in the dark when they're lost. He's there in the first breath a baby takes, in the drops of dew on the grass in the morning, and in the quiet rustle of leaves in the forest. Listen. Listen with your heart and you will hear Him.
Faith, Love, Knowledge, Service and Family. Don't forget Family. Because as I always say, "Family is everything." And what I mean by that isn't that family is more important than those other things but that that's where you will find all of those things if you look for them.
Last but not least: Brush you teeth. They're the only set you've got.
Well, that about sums it up. Am I ready for her to be a teenager? Nope. At least I've got a few more years or . . . 730 days . . . not that I'm counting or anything. I'm not that crazy.