You are approaching the end of your sixth grade year. This has been a big year for you, a stressful year, a year of change. You left your native Michigan behind, though you still consider it 'home'. You got taller and started to notice that girls were different. You struggled a lot in school but you also triumphed too. You are starting to form your own opinions and habits, and for the first real time I see my own choices etched on your reflection.
I fear, in many ways, I have failed as your mother. I have not given you enough of my time. I have not instilled faith and integrity well enough. I have shown you how to be lazy and thoughtless, how to forget and procrastinate. I have shown you impatience and anger far too often. I wish, sometimes, I could go back and erase all of those bad things and replace them with what I should have done or said.
But I can't.
I hope I have also shown you that mistakes are part of life, part of growing, part of learning. That being an adult isn't the end of growing up, in fact it is just the start. Life gets so much infinitely harder when another life depends on you.
I still stand in wonder, every day, at the basic goodness that infuses your character. You are sweet and kind, you are innocent - naive still - and unblemished by bitterness. You are thoughtful and intuitive. These wonderful qualities completely overwhelm the times when you stumble.
I want you to know that you made me a Mother, in all it's majesty and wonder. Not because you were in my belly or cradle. Not because you have my nose and rosy cheeks. Not because I changed a myriad of dirty diapers. But rather, because you taught me to love something more than self. You taught me to embrace chaos. You taught me that I should weed out the brambles of my personality and become something better, no matter how long it takes. You demonstrate daily the happiness that comes with slowing down. You have changed me.
And though I fill your life with my mistakes, I hope that loving you makes up for it. Because I do. I love you body, soul, and funny little habits.
And that will never go away, no matter how much you grow.