Dearest L – It’s your eleventh birthday. You’ve said this is a dreamy age. Over the pressure of double digits, not yet a teen, still a kid. You’re happy about that.
For your eighth, I made some wishes upon your sweet head.
For your ninth, I offered you a well of wisdom to drink from.
For your tenth, I asked our friends to help you see the power of YOUR wishes.
For your eleventh, I simply wanted to share the you that I see.
It’s the morning after your Terrific, Happy-ful, So Good, Very Rad birthday party. Last night, we took you and your friends on the subway to an artisanal pizzeria. You laughed like maniacs and delighted in the crazy. (We did too.) You came home and chased the cats, pummeled each other with balloons. Instead of the custom cakes I’ve been making you for years, you requested a sundae bar. You then watched a movie and judging by the look of the basement carpet, got into a popcorn fight that everybody won. You and your friends whispergiggled far too late into the night.
In this moment, you’re still downstairs. You’ve slept 6.5 hours and are currently playing Would You Rather. Debates are raging over who would rather sport a beard of licorice over an afro of crazy straw.
If I had a quarter for every time I heard one of you said fart, I suspect that trip to Europe we’ve been planning would be imminent.
So the you I see is silly, yes.
And thoughtful. You, the girl who brings $5 to the bake sale and comes home with $4 worth of meringues for me, a chocolate cupcake for your father (that sat on your desk all day, tormenting you), and gave 25 cents each to two friends who didn’t have cash. You had a sugar cookie. A burnt one. You don’t like sugar cookies.
And encouraging. Only you could get Daddy to write. He listens to you.
And wise. You remind me always that we have always this moment, when I find myself melancholy about the swift passage of time.
Yes, eleven is pretty dreamy. And though you never like talking about this, we can’t deny that your beautiful body is beautifully changing. That’s its job.
I love that you are starting to deepen into the wisdom that it holds. Though you find it perplexing, may I offer you this: don’t try to figure it out. Don’t fight it. Just listen to your body.
Because there will be times, my Darling, that you’ll think you’re supposed to do this. Think that. Say this. Be that. You will try to fit in.
But if you get really quiet, and really listen, you will hear your soul speaking through your body. Ask her what she knows.
And then you will know what you’re supposed to do. Think. Say. Be.
When things feel tough, really tough, ask her what she knows. And hear her whisper: it won’t last, sweet one.
When you wonder what you should wear, hear her whisper: that which makes you feel like you, honey cakes.
When you don’t think you know what to say, hear her whisper: the truth, angel love. Always the truth.
And when you want to express thanks for her wisdom and guidance and ask her what she wants from you, honour her when she says: don’t make anything more important than me.
Please don’t. Don’t make anything more important than honouring your soul. My friend Julie taught me that. And now I’m teaching you.
Can you promise me that?
I’ve got a breakfast to make and a scavenger hunt to organize and a badminton net to set up. So here's what's left to say:
You make me laugh. You make me think. You make me appreciate. You make me crazy. You make me so unfathomably happy to be alive it hurts my heart. In the best possible way.
You are eleven. You are love.
Navigating the tenderness and magnificence of this age is no small feat and it's for this reason that I am so excited to be speaking at G Day Toronto on April 26th. A day of empowerment and celebration for girls (and their champions). How wonderful is that?