Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fourteen

Sweet Ruth,

Fourteen years ago, you made me a mom, and I'm thankful for that. Most of that time, I haven't had a clue about what I was doing, and more often than not I've just been winging it. I haven't done everything right, but I have done what I thought was right at the time, and I have loved you through it all more deeply than I can even explain. I have been helping you grow up during the last fourteen years, but you've been helping me grow up, too. And, again, I'm thankful. I'm a better person because of you.

This last year has been quite an adventure as we've been traveling around the world. At first, you seemed a little unsure of our new nomadic lifestyle, but you embraced it anyway, and I think it's grown on you. I believe you have enjoyed all the experiences we've had, and I think you have learned a lot about the world and about yourself--lessons I hope will serve you well throughout your life, no matter where you are or what you're doing. The trip has demanded flexibility and patience in a wide variety of circumstances, and you have displayed these qualities well and have often been example to the rest of us. On the practical side, you have learned to navigate subways and airports and many other types of transportation. I have no doubt that you will not ever have any trouble getting where you want to go--in the literal sense, but also in the more metaphysical sense. You have also learned to get along and communicate with people who are different from you and occasionally even annoy you (and are sometimes those in your own family), and this is such an important thing to learn and is one of the quickest ways to make the world a better place, in my opinion.

You are such a self-motivated hard worker. You strive for excellence in all you do, and whatever you find to do, you do thoroughly, not stopping until the job is completely done. And, it pays off. For example, you worked very hard in the fall preparing to take the SAT test. You did an amazing job on it and earned the opportunity to attend an exclusive camp this summer. You will have an opportunity to put some of your newly acquired travel skills into practice, as you will be traveling solo to and from your camp in New York and will be spending three weeks there, taking a college class and interacting with people you've never met before. If you're nervous, you don't let it show. I know you will have such a great time and will continue to learn about yourself and the world around you. I'm so proud of your amazing work ethic and the opportunities you are creating for yourself!

You have a wide range of interests, and you love to conduct research. A few of the topics you've explored in your free time in the last year have included organic gardening, raising chickens, starting a dairy farm, various topics in economics and politics, colleges all over the world and their offerings, home decor, minimalistic wardrobes, homemade beauty products, tea and coffee varieties and preparations, various business ideas for an enterprising teen, equine vet medicine, artistic techniques, and various aspects of horse riding, just to name a few. You have also been interested in the foods, cultures, local histories, and many other aspects of the places we have visited. You have your dad's ability to remember the things you read and learn (thankfully!) and are therefore a fount of information. I learn something from you almost every day.

You are still passionate about horses and horse riding and have had the opportunity to ride and visit many different kinds of horses, in a variety of environments, all over the world. You are also planning to attend a horse camp this summer when we get back to Texas and to participate with an IEA riding team during the upcoming school year. And, as you are exploring options for your future, you are looking into the possibility of becoming an equine vet in the future.

I am so proud of the beautiful, responsible, intelligent, independent, considerate, hard-working person you are. I have enjoyed these last fourteen years tremendously, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for you. I wish every happiness for you, and I love you so much! Happy Birthday to my favorite daughter!

Love,
Mom

14 looks so good on you!

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