You are turning 12 tomorrow. It's kind of bittersweet to know that another year of our life together flew by, and at the same time it's fascinating to see you grow and change.
It's been a big year for you. You tried for a very prestigious and difficult-to-attain merit scholarship and was selected as a finalist. You did not get that scholarship, but you learned a lot about yourself in this process. You grew closer to some of your friends and still decided to take a risk and change schools. You successfully juggle demands of a rigorous school curriculum and of your after school activities. Your taekwondo coach loves you and spends a lot of time with you, because he sees promise of someone who commits herself wholeheartedly to practice and improvement.
You develop more and more independence and you think critically about the world around you. You have strong opinions about politics, about fairness and justice, and about what you read or hear in the news. You hope to leave your mark on the world and spend some time thinking about your future. You know with certainty that you want to go to college, and getting good grades is important to you. We don't have to remind you to do your homework, but you still get away with relying too much on your memory and quick thinking. I am hoping that your ability to manage your time and organize your materials will mature before that future college becomes a reality.
You are a "maverick" that can do a lot of things well. With this great power comes doubt - doubt about where to focus your time and energy. A lot of things interest you, but there is nothing yet that really stands out and calls to you. I hope that you will continue to try new things and keep learning something new every day.
I love that you are still a kid, that we are still the most important people in your lives. I know, however, that you want to find your tribe. You are loyal to the friends you already have, and I respect your refusal to mask who you are to fit in. You believe in the saying, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind." You are opinionated and direct, but you can also be kind and helpful when you see a person in need. I feel that your heart is in the right place, and more empathy will come with more experience and more exposure.
I am looking forward to another year together. I am waiting to see how your personality changes when you really enter teenage years, but we do get "teenage glimpses" already - wanting to make your own decisions, standing firm for what you think is right, thinking you can handle a lot of things, striving to prove yourself. We want to continue to support you while giving you a lot of freedom, and we hope that you stay mentally and physically healthy and will have a fantastic 13th year of your life.
Love you, Mom.