I don't know Belle, it has been quite a year from 11 to 12. Something has changed, but stayed all the same. This year, you have held on to little so deeply and still grown and become who you are meant to be.
This year, we talked and walked and laughed a lot. You turn to me now, you and I became closer, somehow. There are a lot of things about 2020 that I want to keep and carry forward. This is one of the things I won't allow us to give up. Our late night walks and talks. Our snuggles, our reading dates, our love of Pearl, our holding hands, our relationship. I will hold on to those for dear life sweetie.
We became a thing in 2020 didn't we? After years of you asking me when I was going to come down from this crazy schedule, after years of me talking about when I would only run my business and be more available, we arrived. It mattered to you, it mattered to you a lot. You really were asking for me. You wanted my attention, all on you. You wanted me to know things. You wanted to tell me your stories, and without it, I lost you for a minute there. I lost you to a side of girl I don't love. I lost you to drama you were not into, but could not shy away from. I lost you to you not being you and we had to find who you were again.
Now, I adore you, but in no way am I going to sit here and not recognize all we still have to work on...like your tone with Cole, like your heart with him. Yes, he is younger and a little brother but he loves you in a way that cannot be described. We have to work on you not getting lost again. We need to make sure you always remember who you are and not blindly follow. You are you, and I need you to hold strong to who you really are.
But, we did 2020 right sweet girl. We got all of our time in, even more than we both wanted. I know you missed a lot and I know there were times you were so sad, but you worked hard on holding on to all of the good. You worked hard on being a good friend and a great daughter. You worked hard on loving our Pearl, you put her first. You did school with her, you read with her, she really is going to miss you.
So, two years ago, when you became my double-digit girl, I bought you a matching necklace. One we both wear every single day. This year, as you turn 12 (gulp) I have this front-row seat on watching you falling in and out of the in-between. Every day, walking one step farther away, but that's ok. You really are taking your time and I so love you for it. I love you for doing it apart from knowing how much I need it too.
So here's the thing Anna James. You think you aren't tough enough, you are enough. You think you aren't strong enough, you are enough. You think you can't do a lot of things, but you can. This falling in and out of the in-between has you still thinking you can be taken care of and although we will always and forever take care of our girl, it is time for her to realize how much she can do. I'm in there baby girl. I'm in there too. You have to trust and believe me on this, you can do hard things and you being scared is totally fine, do not let it stop you. Let that little voice guide you on what feels right and wrong but do not for one second think I can't. We've got you, but you've got this.
Alright 12 year old. We will see what coming out of COVID and walking into teenage years means for us. I hope it means that as we figure this out, we do so together. I hope it means the talking does not stop. I hope it means as you realize all you are capable of, you remember where you came from. I'm proud of you Anna. I'm proud and honored to be your mama. I'm happy you found us. I love your heart, your smile, your dimple, your laugh, your I love yous, your hugs, the fact that you're a book nerd, I love your love of Pearl, I love your love of traditions, I love that you hold us accountable to them.
I love you 12 year old. Happy birthday to you.