Now You Are Twelve

Now You Are Twelve

My dearest girl,

You are twelve today.  I decided to write down the first memory I could recall from each of your twelve years.  Behold, a dozen images of you that dance through my mind:

Age 1: We flew with you to Berlin.  You were charmed by an enormous, cold, stone statue of Lenin and Marx.  “Hi, boys!” you called, waving up to the huge, chiseled faces.

Age 2: The White Sox won the World Series, and you insisted on wearing your White Sox onesie to the Harvest Soup Festival at your nursery school.  It was 2005.

Age 3: You had a crazy huge birthday party at the Emily Oaks Nature Center with seventy-five guests, and you greeted every single guest by name and said, “Thank you for coming to my party.” It was astonishing to watch you move through the room, welcoming everyone with grace and poise.

Age 4: We moved into our new house in January. Your daddy and your two grandpas took you to Home Depot late at night to buy some parts needed to assemble your bunk bed.  You had a grand old time staying up way past your bedtime.  And it was ludicrously cold that night.

Age 5: We took you to reunite with your birth family for the first time since you were a toddler. We went up to the top of the St. Louis Arch. I was a little anxious in the tight, enclosed space, but you were delighted. You swam in the hotel pool with your brother and sister and birthmother.

Age 6: We went to Target to pick out your school supplies for first grade. You walked past the rows of princess-themed merchandise, and you chose a Star Wars water bottle and a Star Wars backpack.

Age 7: You became the most famous little Star Wars fan in the world.  ‘The Force’ Is With You, Katie, was one of the most widely-read articles on CNN in 2010.

Age 8: 2012: You went for the first time to sleep-away camp in Minnesota, the camp that our family has attended for generations. I had not stepped inside one of those cabins for 23 years, but when I walked into Happy Hollow, it was like coming home. I closed my eyes and breathed the scent of the wood, and my heart was full.

Age 9: You received an epic suit of Stormtrooper armor from the 501st Legion. You wore in on Halloween and it was the best costume you’ve ever had. Since then, it has been passed on to two different little girls as part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Armor.

Age 10: You joined the swim team. You swam in your first hour-long swim marathon and the whole family came to cheer you on.  The backstroke was your best stroke.

Age 11: We went to London unexpectedly for four days in October. It was a trip that happened only because of who you are. It was the highlight of our year, a bright spot in the midst of a year that was not easy for you.  One day, I hope to be able to write more about the trip. For now, the beautiful memories live only in our minds.

Age 12: You wanted me to bake a homemade chocolate chip banana bread with chocolate frosting in lieu of a birthday cake. So we made it together on your last night as an eleven-year-old. The house smells sweet and delicious now.

Happy happy birthday, my lovely daughter.  I am so happy to have you in my life.  I am grateful that your birthmother brought you into the world. I am relieved that we have found a good way to all be connected in your life, supporting you with the love of both your families.

IMG_0033 IMG_0034IMG_0035Katie Darth Maul

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Katie in armor 2012

Katie in armor 2012

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