Friday, May 29, 2015

Sweet Ruth,

 You are officially a teenager! On the one hand, this is hard to believe, because it still seems to me that you should be a little girl. But on the other hand, you are so mature, responsible, and independent, that I often think you are older than you really are. You are smart and beautiful, and absolutely capable of anything, and I am so very proud of you. I have seen you blossom in many ways in the last year.

You participated in the Challenge B class at CC during this last school year, which gave you the opportunity to hone your logic, research and communication skills. Among other things, you participated in a regional science fair and a mock trial, which were a joy for us to experience along with you. You are always serious about your school work, and these activities were no exception. You went above and beyond the minimum requirements and put your heart and soul into every endeavor. 

You became more serious about horse riding in the last year and competed in several shows, where you met with much success. Your riding teacher and all those who interacted with you at the farm were constantly impressed with your work ethic, which spurred you to do, not only what was asked of you, but so much more, and your natural inclination to encourage and support younger riders. They gave you a touching going-away party and surely miss your almost-daily presence at the farm. Your great love of horses prompted us to give you tickets to the morning exercises and a tour of the facilities of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna for your birthday. You were in a state of absolute bliss while we were there and were so knowledgable about the beautiful Liperzzaner horses. As happens so often, I learned a great deal from you while we were there. 

There was a point during the last year when you decided to try to meet new people and confidently inserted yourself into a new group, where you knew no one. True to your nature, you quickly made many friends, and the bravery you showed by stepping outside your comfort zone was another lesson for me. I am thankful I have you to teach me so many things and to help me become a better version of myself.

And, speaking of stepping out of your comfort zone, this year has brought a number of really big changes to our family--selling our house and most of our possessions, leaving behind friends and family, and embracing a bit of a nomadic existence, while embarking on an epic trip around the world--and you have taken it all in stride and have been an enthusiastic and helpful partner throughout. 

It is hard to find the right words to tell you how much I appreciate you and admire you. You are such an amazing asset to our family and a blessing to my heart on a daily basis. I am proud of you beyond words and am so thankful I have the opportunity to know you and to learn from you and to walk down a shared path with you. You are full of life and passion and are already leaving your mark on the world. Some adults cringe when their children reach the teenage years, but I am so excited about this new chapter in your life and mine, and I look forward to every moment. You are my favorite daughter, and I love you so much! Happy 13th birthday!


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