Friday, May 30, 2014

Sweet Ruth,

You made me a mom twelve years ago, which simultaneously thrilled and terrified me. And, frankly, those feelings still hold true today. You are such an amazing young lady, and I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be your mom! While we have certainly experienced the normal trials and struggles of any mother-daughter relationship, for the most part, the years with you have been filled with joy! You have always been mature for your age, but this year I have noticed an even greater maturity in you, which shows itself in the topics of your conversations, the concerns you have for the future, the questions you ask, the ideas you share, the decisions you make, and even the ways you interact with your brothers and with Dad and me.

You participated in the Challenge A program at CC this year and excelled in every subject. Your eagerness to learn and your ability to self-motivate also point to your maturity. You did a great job of keeping yourself organized and taking care of all of your assignments, and, very often, you impressed us with the work you produced. You also participated in the CC student council. This allowed you to engage in several community service projects during the year, plan social activities with the other Challenge students, and to hold the office of treasurer during the second semester. Competing in PSIA again this year was another fun activity, and you made it to state in Spelling. You have continued to play the piano and have even composed original songs. You took an art class and blew us aways with your beautiful paintings. You played volleyball and basketball and took horse riding and archery lessons. You got to travel to New York City with Nana and Papa, where you attended fancy dinners and Broadway shows. And, you worked extra hard during the school year so you could finish early and be free to enjoy our two months at the beach unencumbered.

You love to shop, but you are normally very smart about it, seeking out bargains and trying to get the most for your money. You put a good deal of thought into what you are buying and why, even when someone else is paying. This is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life, so I'm glad to see you cultivating it now.

You have really been enjoying reading fantasy books this year, and this month alone, you've read somewhere in the neighborhood of a million words. You almost always have a book or Kindle in your hands in your free time, and you read impressively fast.

In the past year or so, you have become interested in talking about college. You are curious about many colleges and have researched quite a few on your own. You are especially fascinated with the military academies and have been trying to find out as much about those institutions as you can. I'll admit, it's a little hard for me to even believe it's time for you to start exploring college and career options, but again, you are taking a very mature approach, and I'm proud of you for that. No doubt, by the time it's time to actually make those decisions, you will be well informed and able to choose wisely.

You are a kind and courteous person, a thoughtful giver, a wonderful friend, and a terrific big sister. You have firm convictions, which you are not afraid to stand by. You prefer deep, meaningful conversations and relationships and tend to become frustrated with shallowness. You are able to interact easily and appropriately with everyone from small children to adults. You are comfortable asserting your opinions, but you don't make others feel bad about theirs. And, most of the time, you are open-minded and respectful and quick to admit if you are wrong or out of line.

I have absolutely loved watching you become who you are! You are beautiful inside and out and a true delight! Dad and I are so proud of you! Happy Birthday, sweet girl! I love you!


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