When you were five years old, Tim and I used to remark to each other that you were an adult in a child's body. You had a serious and perceptive way of viewing the world that didn't quite fit your small frame.
Now that you are thirteen, you remain the same - responsible, intelligent, clear-minded, and diligent. In some ways, you stand outside your social circle because the silly and trivial interactions that tend to occur in early adolescence are not exactly your cup of tea. In spite of this, I think your classmates are drawn to your warmth, your kindness, and the depth of your spirit. They sense that you will stand up for the good and that you will listen with care.
Again, your talents are somewhat unusual for your age. For example, you have the gift of choreography. Last Christmas, you singlehandedly wrote a full-scale pageant in which your younger siblings and cousins acted and danced. You prepared a well-written script, carefully crafted musical selections, intricate costuming, peppy dance numbers, even sound effects. Leading up to Christmas, I would often find you with a notepad and pencil, listening to music pieces, with your eyes closed and your hands moving in the same style of a composer. Your notebooks were filled with sketches, diagrams, and narration.
You also have a knack for decorating and the visual arts. When we hosted about fifty people for Thanksgiving at our house, I left all of the decorating to you. Armed with only ingenuity, you transformed our bare tables and spaces into warm and welcoming displays. If you were given a budget, your decor would undoubtedly compete with the most prestigious interior decorators.
When it comes to academics, you excel across all subject areas and your report card is a solid line of A's. This is due to your diligence, your strong study practices, and your commitment to excellence. Your organizational systems are impressively complex. Unprompted, you type up study guides for yourself.
At thirteen, you are coming into your own in a beautiful and quiet way. You remain a night owl, a to-do list maker, an artist, a mathematician, a goal setter and meeter, an expert at piecing together puzzles and mechanical objects, and a compassionate friend.
The years ahead already seem like a blink. I'm holding on, but also starting to let go. I love you, K. May you continue to grow in kindness, in grace, and in love toward God and others.
* I write letters to each of my children on their birthdays so that they will remember and I won’t forget. As Sheldon Vanauken so aptly put it, “Writing has something of the timeless about it – a breath of eternity.”