Today you are 12.
This is the first time I've missed your birthday and I'm so sad not to be there. I know the birthdays that you will still be at home are dwindling so I'm sorry to miss this one!
But here goes your annual birthday letter.
Julie, I think 11 might have been the year you discovered yourself and probably the world.
You were a star this year. You landed lead parts in three plays and you totally rocked the stage. You put your heart into every performance and everyone could tell you were loving it.
You earned your black belt! Three years, countless hours of practices and ups and downs, but you did it! You learned that hard work pays off!
To say we are proud of you is an understatement.
This year also meant growing up. It was the year you found out about Santa. You were completely devastated. Oh how much you loved Santa and all the magic of the season. And how much we loved doing all of that for you. I cried with you because it was all over. Our little girl who wholeheartedly believed in magic and fairies and mythical creatures was no more. It seemed like you aged about five years last Christmas.
While that was so sad to see your heart broken like that, I think it also made you realized you were growing up. I'm still not sure you love the idea of growing up, but I think you're getting the hang of it.
On your birthday you asked your friends and family to donated money to a charity. You told us that you have everything you need.
Many times you are wiser about life than we give you credit for. You hate brushing your hair and can't stand frilly clothes. On picture day you came downstairs wearing old gym clothes. You say it only matters what's on the inside, and you care less what other kids think.
You love every food (except tomatoes) and are eager to try anything! You love to cook and bake and sing and play ukele. You've probably checked out half the clubs at school just to see what they're all about.
Unique is a word that fits you perfectly, though you don't mind one bit if people call you weird.
I could have never imagined I'd have a daughter like you--so strong, brave and willing to take risks. So eager to try new things and not worry about anyone's opinions.
You have taught me so much about life over the past 12 years. That things don't ever go exactly as planned. That girls are sometimes tougher than boys. That it's always OK to go for something you really want if you might not get it. That it doesn't matter if people think you're weird because weird is cool. That being different is amazing. At 12 you have so many qualities I wish I possessed as an adult. You know how to just be you and that's pretty awesome.
Happy Birthday Julie. I love you.