Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Happiness

Darling Daughter,

You are eleven years old today.  You are also 5'8" tall (I'm clinging to that 3/4" I have over you) and you carry yourself with a confidence many 21, 41 or 71 year olds would admire.

On the final day of 4th grade last year you excitedly came up to me to say who would be in your 5th grade class.  You mentioned a student's name I had never heard and I asked if she was new to the school.

"No, she's been there since 1st grade" you said matter-of-factly.  "She doesn't like me" you noted as if you were mentioning a grocery item.

I stopped walking and grilled you.  What had she done?  How could anyone exclude you or be mean?

You shrugged off my questions and this student's behavior.  "I don't let it bother me" you informed me and walked ahead.  Clearly if this person's conduct didn't bother you, I should follow your lead.  Not only in this case but in life.  Your confidence and ability to forgive should be bottled and shared with those who could sorely use it. Like your mother.

You've been this way since preschool.  Your teachers told me you decided as a 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old what you wanted to do and if classmates joined you that was fine and if you were alone that was fine too.  You've continued this through elementary school.

This year in your own way you are being a buddy to a classmate going through a rough time.  It reminds me of what I wrote in your Birthday Letter when you turned five years old.
"The teacher reminded me of how you talked about a particular boy a fair amount last year. She then disclosed it was because no one else would play with him. He had a tendency to hit or lash out in other ways. You told him early on he couldn't hit and he listened to you. For a good part of the year you were the only classmate who would play with him. Now he plays fine and is welcomed by the other kids. You helped him figure it all out and welcomed other kids to play with him."
In that 2009 Birthday Letter I asked you to use your powers for good.

I'm glad you listened.