I must admit–I’m in my feelings.
I started this blog in 2009, right as my daughter started kindergarten. She was a bright-eyed five year-old with big, bountiful ponytails and a smile that lit up a room. I remember dropping her off for her first half day of kindergarten and watching as she took everything in. How shy she was, but also how open she was to meeting new friends. When I walked out of the room, leaving her to her new classroom, I took one last look at her and knew she would be good. Me on the other hand? Not so much.
Now here we are in 2021 embarking on a new school year, her first one in-person after a year in a half. The last time she attended class in person was the second week of March 2020. After the pandemic hit, she’s been in virtual school ever since.
While we are both nervous about the school year to come, we are also hopeful and optimistic. You only get one year to be a high school senior, and I want it to be the best ever for her.
Every year on the first day of school, I’ve taken to writing her a letter as she embarks on a new year. This year is no exception.
You made it. After many years of working hard and doing your absolute best, you are now a bonafide high school senior. You’ve overcome many obstacles. You took speech therapy for four years to stop stuttering. You worked hard with a tutor to improve your math grades. You advocated for yourself when you were placed in classes that you felt were not best for your coursework. You created the school’s first podcast and you are now Editor and Chief of the school newspaper, a role that you were asked to fulfill because of your excellence in writing and journalism.
Your passion to excel and do your best was evident when you were in grade school, and has served you oh so well in middle and high school. I am so proud of your growth and your consistency even through unfortunate circumstances. This past year and a half has been terrible, but you continue to be positive and optimistic, and you helped me be that, too.
I love the young woman you are evolving into, and I know that your senior year is going to be one of greatness. You are so focused and so on point that I am in awe of you. Never lose that.
Keep marching to the beat of your own drum with your unique musical tastes and sense of style. Your individuality is going to take you far and I love that you are not afraid to be yourself and not blend in for the sake of being like everyone else. You never have been that way.
I love you so much, and I want you to know that there is nothing that you cannot do. You’ve shown us time and time again that you know how to get things done–your opportunities are endless.
Hold your head up high and walk into this new school year with grace and a full heart. We are so very proud of you–being your mom has been so easy because you are wonderful. I am blessed to call you my daughter.
Your older brother, even thousands of miles away is rooting for you and cheering you on. Your father cannot wait to see you walk across that stage and grab your diploma. Your grandmothers are so excited to be able to see you graduate, and for our family, you will be the first grandchild to attend an out-of-state college right after high school. You’ve got a slew of internet aunts and uncles who’ve seen you grow up online, and they are all clapping for you and love seeing you win.
Miss Independent, Little Miss Sunshine, Chicklet, and Favorite Daughter, I pray that your senior year will be one of happiness, joy, hard work, and peacefulness for you.
I can’t wait to see you soar throughout your 12th grade year.
P.S.: Do you have a budding 12th grader? Make sure you subscribe to Grown & Flown.