**Preface to say…this is a few days late. Josie actually turned 11 on Sunday, but I got back from ACCS conference on Saturday evening, and Sunday was Father’s Day AND Josie’s birthday…..so I’m just a bit late. 🙂


Dear Josie,

How can you be ELEVEN? Because I think it was just yesterday that you were “performing” your dance moves in our living room with your princess dress and your toy microphone. You definitely can’t be almost a teenager. Yet, here we are, and I am writing this letter. So. I guess I must face the inevitable. You are getting old! 🙂

You had a big year with a lot of changes and exciting things happening. In the essence of being honest, though, it was a hard year, too. 5th grade was tough….and I think both of us knew it was going to be. Having me as a teacher for two years was rough…but it was also made your life a little easier in the responsibility realm of things. So, fifth grade was a year for you to learn some independence and responsibility. And it was a struggle sometimes. You are SO smart and capable…..but you are also a big time procrastinator. However, you and I both learned some lessons. We (and your Daddy and you) had some great conversations. Some big, grown-up type of conversations. And this definitely isn’t the end of those conversations. It is only the beginning.

BUT. Something awesome happened this year, too. The BEST thing. You decided that you could no longer live without Jesus in your heart. You were saved in December during one of our family Jesse Tree devotionals. You were baptized in January, and that has gone down in the memory books as one of my favorite parenting moments yet. You are now my sister in Christ!! And that is definitely the BEST thing that happened in your tenth year of life.

Here are some other things that I want to remember about you this year:

-You are a wonderful mixture of girly-girl and toughness. You love getting dressed up and the more glitter and sparkles, the better. You love having your hair curled and braided and you are always excited to get to play with makeup. Ballet is your favorite activity-you live for it. You still love playing with your dollhouse- Calico Critters are your favorite toy right now. You can almost always be found working on some kind of art project, and you are always singing and making up dance routines…. But you also love being outside and getting dirty and playing rough. You always prefer sitting with the boys at lunch because you just find the things they talk about more interesting. You love fort building and hunting with your Pappy and shooting bows and arrow or BB guns. You love to hike and camp and kneeboard. I love your fun personality and the person you are becoming.

-You are sensitive. Hormones are raging, and you are much more in touch with your emotional side than I ever was (or still am!). I’m actually really happy for you about that….but it makes for some tough moments (or days) sometimes! We have both found that sometimes the best thing for you to do when you are upset is to just go take a shower. You always get out of a shower feeling that all is right in the world again. 🙂

-You would try ALL the activities if we’d let you. But you really love the ones we’ve settled on you doing. You love Mrs. Shumate and after school art. Your print-making piece got third in the district this year. You were disappointed that you didn’t make it to state again..but you were also able to learn an important lesson about being happy for your friends. Ballet is the perfect activity for you. It was amazing to see how much you had learned at your recital this year! You also started guitar back this year, and I’m so glad you did. I love hearing you sing and play, and we were excited about how excited you were about it.

-You love performances of all kinds. You love to BE in performances, and you also love to watch them. You loved going to Vandy games with Nana and Shshr this year. Ta took you to TPAC to see the Little Mermaid. She also took you to see The Nutcracker ballet (which I think is the performance you’ve been the MOST excited about). You got to see your very first real concert-Lucinda Williams-with Shshr, and you still talk about what a great time you had!

-As hard as 5th grade was, you also had some great times, too. Your favorite things about this school year were: getting to wear a skirt instead of a jumper; Mr. Brown playing football with the class; fort-building with the boys at playtime; your shield project; Medieval day; science class with Mrs. Layman (you LOVED her as a teacher); getting to perform “All is Well” at Christmas Vespers with the upper school-you got to sing the descant, which you thought was really special; and going on a field trip to a farm.

Little girl, it has been a BIG year…and I suspect the years are only going to get bigger from here on out. Stay little. Keep loving make-believe and imaginary things. Relish in them now while you can. I love your sweet heart and mind and spirit. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.







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