Eleven years old!

Today my firstborn is eleven. Wow, that went fast.

eleven today!

One year and she'll have all the candles in the birthday ring lit! Two years and it will be teen.

eleven candles

blowing them out

I can't even say how I love this shining-eyed, poised, mature, funny girl. Although every year in childhood is one of transformation and change, I have been especially amazed by the change over the last year. While she's still very much a little girl, preferring to play outside much of the time, I have been noticing more and more over the last few months how she is coming into "herself" more. Little comments she makes here and there tell me that she is thinking of herself as more independent ("I like this, I feel that, I do it this way," etc.) and thinking about what that means, to have her own opinions and ways of looking at things. I remember feeling that way, too, realizing that I was me, not just "a kid".

from James, for the birthday girl

James made this card for her. He instructed her to open it over her head "for the full effect"! 

birthday goodies

She's helpful and wise. She is developing more focused interests. She is building friendships beyond "playmate". I'm really excited, if a little nervous, about where she's going. And like every developmental phase in parenting so far, I'm surprised to discover that we are ready for it. It's easy to dread things that haven't come yet, but I am learning that once you are there, it's not as scary. We know our daughter. She's our eleven-year-old, not someone else's. Parenting her has not been "easy" (she's sort of a classic "high need" child), but every step along the way, we have gotten to know her, and we've grown right along with her. I'm proud of her and confident that as she reaches the teen years, our relationship with her will continue to grow and blossom, just as she will.


Oh, Elisabeth. Thank you for coming into our family, for making your daddy and me into parents, eleven years ago. We love you. So much!