Or should that be PrincessY? We moved back to the US and your teacher at the public school is Jewish. On the first day she did roll call and you responded that you'd like to be called "E---" and she said "Can I call you by your given name? It's a beautiful name." So here you are called by your given, Hebrew name; whereas in the UK at the Jewish Day school you were known by your American-ized nickname.
What a funny situation. And I think it sums up a transformation we've seen in you since arriving back in the US. You have come back, experienced being different, struggled a bit, found some friends of the supportive-also-different type, and come through to the other side having made a happy and secure place for yourself at your school. Dadam and I are so proud. Many adults struggle with creating their own happiness when times are hard and here you are, eleven years old(!), empowered and making the choice to be happy and fulfilled. You regularly volunteer in Noodle's Kindergarten class, doing errands, filing, and helping with art projects during your recess time. You also do volunteer work in your own class, when the teacher has things you can do around the class. But you also take time to play and enjoy being a kid. You have got friends in all different social "strata" and I think you talk about playing with a different group of students every day. You are doing what is right for you and not being penned in by the "group" mentality. I love seeing you make your own way.
Once again, you have made a challenging adjustment and come out just fine on the other side. You've adapted to the different demands of the academics here, chosen to play the clarinet and been accepted to the advanced ensemble in your first year of playing, and made lots of friends and connections. I know that I've said this before, but you amaze me with your adaptability and your strength.
Eleven is going to bring us lots and lots of changes. Middle school(!!), which I am more than slightly nervous about (and I know you are too!) and all those issues are right around the corner. Hormones have already started giving us a sneak peek with some out-of-the-blue roller-coaster-highs-and-lows and I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better. Dadam and I are still working on our take-a-deep-breath-and-calm-down-before-responding parenting skills. It's difficult not to get wrapped up when you get ramped up, but we are working on it. And you are working on all sorts of skills too; the ability to mind your own business, to not argue, to deal with your frustration and anger constructively, we're all learning during this growing up time. We're under no illusions that you'll learn these things over night, we're aware that adolescence is a years-long transition, but I believe that we have an amazing, strong foundation. And I believe, with all my heart, that we'll make it through okay.
You've recently begun to be more concerned with your hair and clothes, though your style is still completely your own. (Which I LOVE!) You are aware some girls "like" boys and some boys "like" girls, but you are not at all interested in that game. But you still love to play on the swings, dig in the sand and play school with Lu-Lu and Noodle. The pendulum has begun to swing.
For your birthday this year you elected not to have a party. You asked if GranEde and GranDude could come down and we went camping as a family. It was fantastic. We played on the beach and hiked and spent time with one another. The whole weekend was so much fun. You are so grounded in our family and our closeness is something I treasure every day.
PrincessE, I wish that I could take away whatever grey days you'll face in the next year. I wish I could clean the way of interactions that leave you feeling low and unsure of yourself, I wish I could protect you from the "mean girls" that might be out there. But I know that's not the way life works. I can't make middle school an easy transition and really, I'm not sure I should want to. It's the challenges you make it through, on your own with help from us, that will set you up for success in your life ahead. And I see that you have found the power to make your own happiness, a power that will keep you strong your whole life through.
So my birthday wish for you this year is that you never loose sight of how powerful you are. You are strong, you are beautiful, you are intelligent and you are amazing and all of those parts of you come together in a person who I am lucky to know and even luckier to have as my daughter.
I love you, PrincessE. Happy Birthday!