You are 12. I can't believe that you are 12. I have to remind myself every day when you come down the stairs that you will probably look a little different than you did when you went to bed the night before. I still sometimes catch myself gasping in shock. One day a few weeks ago, you had your hair pulled back. You looked like a beautiful woman.
One night when I couldn't sleep (I am ecstatic that you have not inherited this curse from me) I watched
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. The movie is admittedly strange, but I wept when the father wrote this letter to his daughter who he wouldn't be able to raise:
"For what it's worth: it's never too late to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again."
Emmy, I love this letter because it embodies everything that I love about life. I hope you know that you can be whoever you want to be. I hope that you don't feel limited by fear , cultural constraints, or lack of proper parenting. Your potential is as big as the universe. You can't control what happens to you, but you can decide if you will make the best of it. This was true of how you handled your braces this year. You really didn't want them and fought it for a while. But it didn't take long for you to decide to just make the best of the situation. I hope that life is a journey for you and that you won't worry so much about each outcome, but will be able to notice the startling things along the way. I hope you feel things you have never felt before...these feelings will cover a huge spectrum and they won't always be pleasant. I can't and shouldn't protect you from these feelings as much as my heart sometimes wants filter everything but joy and happiness. The more that you are able to feel, the more able you become to respond with empathy to others. You are brave and adventurous. You swam across a freezing lake this summer. I'm sure that this was a startling experience that you won't forget anytime soon. I hope that you are also brave and adventurous with the people that you allow into your life, People have so much to offer us with different ideas and experiences. We shouldn't be afraid to find the good in everyone.
In reality, Emmy, I don't think that you need my advice. I was reminded when I watched this movie that age is irrelevant. We can all learn and expand our worldview from our interactions with people of all ages and corners of the world. I know that I have told you that you were born with a wise disposition. I have often felt more like your child. I hope this has never been a burden to you. Your teacher told us this year that you are miles ahead of the class that your classmates look to you as their guide and intellectual leader. We nodded our heads in understanding. This is exactly how we feel about you, Maybe you should write us a letter of advice.
I love you.
For her birthday, she and her friends terrorize the streets of Spokane.
and get treats from a really pretty cupcake shop.
Her friends at church give her a heart attack when she is not home. I promise that she is happier than she looks.
It is my birthday every time I can catch Savanna with a genuine smile on her face.
She can't seem to get them all out.
She realizes that they are trick candles and they will just keep relighting.
Emmy will not give up. On a new plan of attack, she gets low enough to dip her nose in the frosting.