Happy 12th birthday!!! I know I usually write a list of reasons telling you why I love you on your birthday, but as you approach your twelfth year I can't help but notice how independent you are becoming. Time is flying by and before I know it, you will be a young woman.
So here we are... I'm trying to step back and let you stretch your wings more and you're busy going about the business of becoming the beautiful young woman I know you will be. How I wish I could freeze this moment in time and keep you my little girl forever.
But time doesn't listen to the pleadings of a mother's heart and keeps marching on. So this year, I want to do something different. I want to make you a list of 12 things I hope you will always remember and keep in your heart as your journey through life continues.
1. I love you, forever and always. You are my joy and no matter what, I will always love you.
2. You are enough. There may be times in life when you might feel like you're not enough. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, not whatever enough. It's a trick our minds play on us, or a message others may tell us... but the truth is, you are enough. You are 100% uniquely you, and you are enough. If you ever hear a voice telling you that you need to be more, or something different; know this truth and hold it in your heart - you are enough.
3. Be you. You don't ever have to pretend to be something that you're not. Because who you are is beautiful. You don't have to change for someone else. Live without apology. Be 100% and authentically you. If someone isn't going to accept you for who you are, that isn't something you need to fix. Just be you, and those who are meant to be in your life will know you and love you for who you are.
4. Kindness matters. Acts of kindness are how we change the world. Be kind to those in need, those that are hurting, those that love you, those that are different than you, those that cross your path. I promise you, kindness comes back around. Act with kindness and you will receive kindness in return.
5. Live with integrity. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. Sometimes it's not easy to do the right thing, but if you live with integrity you can walk forward with confidence and peace in your heart. If you do what is right and honest, you can always stand up for your actions and live with the knowledge that you have done your best and a clear conscience.
6. Trust yourself. Know that you are an amazing young lady. Your heart is pure and your intentions are good. Trust yourself to know what is right and good for you. Even if others question you, believe in yourself and trust your inner voice to guide you throughout this life. Don't listen to the haters, trust yourself.
7. Dream big. The bigger the better. Let your dreams run wild. Dare to go to those places you only dream of. Dream about making a difference in this world. Dream about making your mark. Dream about changing people's lives. Dream about doing what you love. Because you have a lifetime ahead of you and a whole world open to you. Dream big, my dear, dream big.
8. Turn your dreams into your goals. And then make it happen. You can do it. You are one of the most driven and hard working people I know. Turn those dreams into your reality. Take it one step at a time. Set milestones for yourself along your journey, then take one step at a time, and one day you will have reached your goal. I know you will, I have confidence in you. Believe in yourself and you will achieve whatever you set your mind to.
9. I am so proud of you. I am proud to be your mom. I'm proud of the things you do, but most of all I am proud of who you are as a person. You are kind. You are tough, but with a tender heart. You are confident and assertive. You are smart and you bring your best to every challenge. Those that are fortunate enough to make their way into your inner circle, you love fiercely. You are responsible. You are brave. You are strong. You are motivated and driven. You are amazing. Sometimes I just stare at you in awe of who you are becoming. (P.S. That's 12 things I love about you!)
10. Stand up for yourself. You are worth it and you deserve the very best. Don't compromise. I've seen you protect your heart, and you are right to do so. It is a treasure to be cherished. Share it with those that love and respect you, and accept nothing less. You are so very worth it.
11. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of strength. We all need a circle of support to help us in this life. Create a tribe of people who love you and want the best for you, and then have confidence that we got your back. You're never alone. We will always be here for you, cheering you on and walking by your side.
12. Embrace who you are. Love who you are. You are beautiful, inside and out. Love all the parts that make you who you are - even those parts that you may consider weaknesses. It's all part of the whole and comes together with your strengths to create an intricate balance that is you. The one and only you that came into this world 12 years ago and blessed the world just by being you.
I love you Grace, to the moon and back.
Love always, Mom