You still remind me of Anne of Green Gables - her wit, her smarts, her strength of mind and character, her propensity for speaking the truth (for better or for worse). Remember the part in the movie where Anne very strikingly seems to be leaving girlhood behind and laughs on the porch alongside Marilla about her antics as a child? This reminds me so much of you at thirteen. You remain resolute, talented, and strong, but with an ever-growing maturity and purposefulness. There have been many instances, which required you to be the odd woman out in order to cling to what is good (not an easy task as a 7th grader), and you have walked through them with grace.
You seek truth in God's Word and hide it deep in your heart, taking excellent notes along the way. In fact, you keep many different kinds of journals and write in them regularly. You also take thorough sermon notes and are unafraid to ask questions about puzzling theological conundrums. Curiosity is a gift and your desire for learning will take you far.
At school, you are a dedicated scholar with impressive study skills. You go over and above in your assignments - taking strikingly beautiful notes in colorful calligraphy. Your Western Civilization class had a hefty book list - The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, The Code of Hammurabi, The Histories by Herodotus, The Last Days of Socrates by Plato, The Aeneid, Chosen by God, The Screwtape Letters, among others - but your journal entries demonstrated admirable understanding and insightfulness, both in comprehending the texts and also in considering applications to your life as a student and as a Christian. In fact, your course load was quite rigorous (Western Civ, Algebra I, Latin, Grammar & Composition, General Science, Drawing, Choir) - and, as one of your teachers put it, you were a "model student."
Aside from your studies, you participated in volleyball, soccer, and fencing - and you loved all three. You remain fast on your feet and aggressive on the court/field. You took first place in your age division at your school's 5k (again) and would do well on a cross-country team.
You are also gifted in music and drama and have the uncanny ability to perfectly mimic voices in both song and prose (cue: Merida in Brave, Glinda in Wicked, Rapunzel, or Rapunzel's stepmother). This past year, you performed two solos at a voice recital ("Maybe" from Annie and "Castle on a Cloud" from Les Miserables) and you will sing in a cousin's wedding this summer. You would love (LOVE!) to be in a musical or stage performance and you often also ask to be enrolled in dance classes.
You also have a knack for drawing and spend many hours drawing detailed sketches - particularly of girls in dresses or with elegant hair styles.
Of all your many endearing traits, one of your best ones is the ability to make friends anywhere we go. You are a sparkling conversationalist and are quick to disperse compliments. Plus, you don't bat an eyelash about grade and age barriers - happily developing friendships with people who are both older and younger than you are (which is a wonderful trait).
It doesn't seem at all strange that you are entering your teen years. I know it will be a blink and you'll be waving at us, on your way to college, to make lots of friends and to be brave in trying new things (both things that you are in the habit of doing). For now, I'll treasure these moments up in my heart - watching you grow up into the beautiful woman God wants you to be. Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).
With love always,
* 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.”