Happy 12th birthday, my sweet girl! As I look back at the last 12 months of living with and loving you, the overarching theme of being your mom was this: you are FUN. You are a fun kid. You are profoundly funny and have a well developed sense of humor. You love to make us laugh (even when you don't mean to) and always watch our faces carefully to see the reaction you were looking for. You watch funny shows, look at funny blogs, and seek out entertainment everywhere.
You are on the cusp of being a teenager and we can see all the changes happening in you. You grew three and a half inches this year (finally!) and your doctor says you have plenty of growing still to do. Looks like my wish of you standing at least five feet tall will come true after all. Your face is getting more grown up, you were horrified at the first little zit that showed up (and yes, despite your dramatic reaction, it was very little), and your promptly outgrew all of your clothes once school started. Best of all, the mood swings started that cause your father and I whiplash: you are our little, regular, happy ol' Mimi one minute and a silent, brooding, defeatist force of miserableness the next. And then, just as quickly, something helps you snap out of it and you are back to your old self again. It's mesmerizing, really.
We are getting a better sense each year of who you are as a person and what a joy you are. You do very well in school and do even better if I am 100% on top of you from the quarter's start to finish. You have really lovely friends and a wide variety of them. You seem to want to be a good girl, which makes me happy. You still enjoy Girl Scouts (even though you have clued me in that it's not entirely cool anymore to be a Girl Scout), and enjoyed playing softball in the spring and fall. You love all things popular culture but seem to be able to separate bad messages from good messages. I think you know more bad words and more grown up things than I think you know, but you indulge me into thinking you are more innocent than you actually are. (And I thank you for that, as well. I don't need to know everything.) What makes me happiest is that you appear to have a good sense of self and can let things easily roll off your back, which was a skill I am not sure I have developed as an adult quite yet. I think, so far, we've done pretty well together.
You are a wonderful sister to Jenna and Alec and are a huge help to me in lots of ways. You were a tremendous source of comfort to me this summer and I am thrilled to see that you seem to have taken everything in stride. Best of all for me, you demanded in the kindest way possible that I still be your mom and be present and take care of things when all I wanted to do was stay in bed. Thank you.
I am grateful for you in so many ways. I am grateful that you are the joy that you are; I am grateful that you still want to lay down with me; I am grateful that you still want to be my favorite kid. I am grateful that you still talk- really talk- to me. I am grateful that we still have the same connection we have always had, even if its only for a few more months or years or however long it is until you decide that I am, in fact, a complete dork and idiot. I know that day is coming. Like a freight train barreling towards us.
But for now, know how much I love you and cherish you. Yes, you are intense and exhausting and a force and full of energy and ideas and suggestions, but I wouldn't change one little detail about you. Those qualities are all what makes you Michaela. They make you the awesome daughter that you are.
Be safe this year, be well, grow in every way possible, and be confident in my unwavering love for you.