12 Years Old

Dear Josie,

Whew. It has been a year. Especially this second part of your twelfth year. You will never forget 2020, I’m sure- the year that words like “corona virus,” “quarantine,” “social distancing,” and “distance learning” became a part of our vocabulary. The year that your school was literally shut down and you got to experience homeschooling for the first time ever.

But…those aren’t the things I want to remember. Here are the things I want to remember about your twelfth year of life:

-You are so very creative. You love art and art projects. You love to tie dye and paint and make origami everything and draw and make things with fabric and pick flowers to make beautiful bouquets. And you are so good at all of it!

-Your smile is the best. It fills a room up. You are polite and helpful and kind to others. You do not ever get in trouble at school or church. You do not lack for personality….or energy, most of the time.

-You love to write. You are a wonderful writer. You did so good writing all of your essays in 6th grade this year, and you learned a lot! You write stories on your own all the time, and are currently writing your own chapter book. (Note: learning to type and use voice dictation on the computer have been life changing for you!)

-You love to read. You’ve always loved books, but you have taken to reading in a new way this year. You almost always have about 3 books going, and I find you curled up with a book all the time. 

-You are so sweet to your brother. Y’all play so very well together. You say your best friends are Hannah, or Josie B., or Claire. But I know the truth. Jack is your best friend. And that makes my heart so very happy. 

-You still love to PLAY. And I love that you do, so very much. You play Legos with Jack, and you love to design rooms for your Calico Critters and you play with your American Girl dolls. I know this won’t last too terribly much longer….so I’m cherishing it now. 

-Other things you love: Full House, Harry Potter, ballet, Hamilton, listening to music and making playlists, playing your guitar (and writing your own songs!), taking pictures and editing them, roller blading, playing with Poppy, being a hostess, talking to your friends, laughing loud when you think things are funny, your Daddy’s jokes, your family, swimming and diving, any excuse to dress up, eating out and shopping. 

-Some of your favorite foods: hamburgers, spaghetti, Greek food, tacos, baked potatoes, Zuppa Tuscana soup, desserts (especially caramel flavored things), ice cream floats, fancy coffee, Dr. Pepper and cream soda

-You started youth group this year at church and really, really loved it. Hannah with went you a lot. 

-6th grade was another challenging year. Your hormones were raging, school was difficult for a few different reasons, and we were learning together how to let you be a little bit more independent. But…we discovered something very important this year. You haven’t been “officially” diagnosed (we are working on that), but we are almost certain you are dyslexic. Which explains so many of your struggles throughout your school years. And knowing this helps us and your teachers know how to help you. We were already making some changes for the better when school was shut down, and will continue to make changes as you go to seventh grade.

-As weird as “distance learning” was…it was good for you. It helped us and you to discover some ways you learn best, that I think will benefit you greatly next school year. And, even when we were sad that we were missing events and friends and family….we all appreciated more down time and a less hectic schedule and more time to just be at home.

-Other randomness from this year: you learned to water ski; you got a new cousin, Emery; you went to church camp; you went on your first backpacking trip; you slept all night in a hammock while we were camping; you cliff jumped-much to mine and your daddy’s astonishment; you loved and grieved Midnight the cat; we watched ALL the Marvel movies; we also finished the last two Harry Potter books (and the movies that went with them); you had strep throat 4 or 5 times, and major poison ivy breakouts 3 times.

Little girl…sometimes I wish I could bottle you up right now. Sometimes I want to pull my hair out because of you. But at the moment the sweet times are outweighing the crazy…and you are growing up too fast. I love you so much. Happy Birthday my Jo girl! 



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