Dear Bean –
Happy birthday, kiddo – you’re 11! And, frankly, you weren’t happy about it. You told me, very seriously, that 10 was a great year and you’re a little worried that 11 won’t live up to your expectations.
Girl, I hear you.
Getting older is HARD and I know you’re starting to realize that things are changing. You only have one more year left in your beloved school and the kids you’ve known since you were 3 will scatter. We’re still in the process of figuring out this home addition. And this summer is an odd one with lots of trips – one without your dad and I. While you do many, many things well, you do NOT do change.
But here is where I tell you, it’ll all be fine. I swear it.
You weren’t wrong though- 10 was a stellar year for you! You slayed 5th grade with great study habits, a wonderful teacher and solid friendships. You continued to ride horses, you gave up lacrosse (in a moment that oddly made me stupidly proud of you), you made more Tik Tok videos than should be legal and girl – you found basketball.
You’ve never been much for team sports, and that’s Ok. You don’t thrive off of the sense of community that comes from playing on a team, you don’t really care about meeting new people, nor were you particularly sold on sports, but something clicked this year. So, with the urging of some friends, you decided to try out for a travel basketball team.
You made that team and you FOUND YOUR TRIBE! A group of girls that you instantly bonded with- I have never seen anything like that with you before. Even your teacher commented that being part of this team gave you more confidence across the board. So, high-five to that!
And now, you’re 11.
Here is what I hope for you this year:
- I hope you realize that you can always, always keep talking to us. I don’t care if it’s about inane Tik Tok videos or your deepest fears – I will always listen.
- I hope know that I trust you to make good decisions.
- I hope you know that when you don’t make good decisions (because you’re human), we’ll talk them through. Yes, you may be punished. Yes, you may have to live with consequences you don’t like. Yes, you may disappoint me, your dad and yourself. But you’ll grow from what you learn and do better the next time.
- I hope you know that your emotions are going to be BIG this year – and for roughly the next 7-8 years. And you’re not going to know what to do with them sometimes and that’s OK. You can laugh, you can cry, you can yell and you can talk them all out. All are totally good by me, but…
- I hope you know that big emotions aren’t an excuse to be mean. Don’t be a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. Mean girls and the drama surrounding them won’t ever be tolerated in this house.
- I hope you you realize the very real difference between being a jerk and standing up for yourself. Because, my girl, standing up for yourself is something every.freaking.person needs to know how to do – and sometimes, when you stand up for yourself, you run the risk of not being liked.
- I hope you know it’s OK not to be liked. I hope don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your self-worth is dependent on what people think of you – because it is 100% not. Say that with me one more time: What other people think of me doesn’t determine my self worth. And keep saying it to yourself every damn day until you feel it in your bones.
- I hope you know that regardless of the changes your body starts to go through, you’re beautiful. I hope when you look into the mirror you see the strength and humor and brains that I see and know you’re gorgeous in the very best ways.
- I hope you always respect your body. You won’t always like your body – it’ll be doing some weird things soon enough – but I hope you realize what a gift your body is. Strong legs that run you where you want to go, arms that lift you up, a spine to help you hold your head high. You’re a freaking miracle and I hope that even when you hate your body, you still respect the hell out of it and treat it properly.
- I hope you know that you’re always, always loved fiercely.
So, here’s to 11 being even better than 10! I can’t wait to see where your adventures take you.
I love you,