A letter to my daughter on her thirteenth birthday

My sweet Princess,

The other day, I stood in the card aisle of the grocery store, scanning possible birthday cards to give you – as I picked up cards and read them, I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. What on earth is wrong with me? Why are your birthdays getting harder for me? I love seeing how you change each year, I am so excited for each year in front of you – but oh this is feeling old, sweet girl.

Time is moving so quickly.

When I went to your parent teacher conferences this year, several of your teachers told me such wonderful things about you. Your science teacher, your social studies teacher, math – and all of them echoed the sentiment that has rattled in my head for quite some time: “I am so excited to see what she will become. She can be anything.”

(No pressure.)

So while I am a bit emotional about your birthday, I hope you know just how much I am enjoying see you be who you are.

When it comes to gymnastics, you are a hard worker. Even after all these years, to watch you when you compete is a joy. You exude this confidence and charisma – particularly when you do your floor routine. You are so fun to watch. When  you master a new stunt, your excitement and your pride – it’s contagious. I don’t know how you do the things you do. A balance beam is only a few inches wide – I tried last year to stand on the beam. I was terrified. On that beam, I realized not only how narrow it is but how high up it is – and you, YOU are jumping, cartwheeling, executing turns, and moving from one end to another with this ease. It’s so hard and yet when you are up there on the balance beam – it looks effortless. I am in awe. Always.

You are a lovely soul.

You are kind. Everyone tells me how kind you are.

Your sense of humor is beyond your years and often the snark level matches my own and you are dry and you are witty and oh god sometimes you crack me up. I got a blister on my foot the other day – I went walking in flip flops – two miles in flip flops, even the good ones, is not a great idea. The next day, i was complaining of the pain and you said to me, “Yeah, I had a feeling that wouldn’t turn out that well.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I replied.

“Because I realized that sometimes it’s better to keep my opinion to myself,” you said. “I just haven’t exactly got it figured out when those times are.”

I don’t know. It made me laugh.

When you had to do a social studies project about Grand Rapids – you messaged me and told me that you’d arranged to interview several people – could I drive you to these interviews? You had sent such professional, self-assured emails to these people, asking for their time, for their insight – and they did – they gave you their time. I couldn’t believe your initiative. Your drive. It is a common theme – I am not sure I was as focused as you when I was your age.

I barely remember thirteen.

It was the year my family moved to Michigan. Eight grade. I had bangs. I moved here and I felt like I was a fish out of water.

I don’t know what this year holds for you. I know that thirteen years ago tonight, I was in a hospital waiting to meet you. I had been so ready to meet you for so long. When I found out I was having a girl, I knew right away what your name would be – and I had, for months, been driving to and from work, having conversations with you – just to hear your name  in the air. You were born at 9:03 p.m. and you are still my night owl. (Oh, how I hate to wake you up in the morning. It’s neither easy nor fun!)

And tonight, I’ll be watching your school choir perform and you’ll be singing a solo and oh, to think about it, I get the kind of goosebumps that make my scalp tingle.

Your texts are some of my favorite to get. I like when you heart my pictures on Instagram.

You steal my Chucks and my turquoise pants.

You are vibrant. Emotional. Sassy. Prone to hangry-provoked tears. Loving.

(Lest you go getting a big head, I will say that sometimes you and your sister argue and it drives me absolutely BONKERS. I thought y’all were supposed to be best friends. Ah, maybe someday.)



And eight grade next year.

It really does fly. Oh, how it flies.

I’m not perfect, far from it – but I think we’re doing okay. Because even those moments – those trying moments – I look at you and I look at your sister and I can’t believe how blessed I am, how amazing you both are.

And today, I celebrate you – it’s your birthday. Thirteen years ago today I saw your face for the first time and it’s still one of my favorite faces on the planet.

I love you with my whole heart and I’m so very lucky to be your mom.



About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

Speak Your Mind