Emily is 11..a month or so later

Our Emily turned 11 on July 22nd this year.  We have officially moved into our tween years and I feel like I am spending so much time trying to keep Emily 11 instead of 16 that the reality of 11 has yet to hit me.

Summer months are filled with constant conversations about modesty, trust, and privileges.  We ended the school year with grades we felt did not represent Emily's full potential and this was hard for us parents.  As the oldest, Emily, is constantly pushing Bret and I into new uncharted parenting situations that we have no idea how to handle.  We constantly feel like we are failing as parents and at the same time doing the very best we can.  Although this past year has been filled with new challenges we could not be more proud of the young woman she is becoming.

Dear Emily,

Your dad and I are so proud of you and the young woman you are becoming.  I don't feel like we tell you that often enough.  You, like your mother, are a people pleaser.  I see that when you measure your success in the reaction from us, your parents.  I see it when you have friends over or are planning your birthday in the hopes that your friends have a good time and really enjoy coming over to your house.  There is nothing really wrong with this except one day you will realize how much energy and time you spend trying to make everyone happy which is not always possible.  I keep trying to lift your head and heart upwards to the Lord.  To open your ears and heart to seeing what truly pleases Him.

You work so hard in everything you do.  At school I know things don't always just "click" like it does for some kids.  I know that you pay attention and work hard and that when you still don't get the grades you hope for it is defeating.  Hang in there kid.  Hard work will pay off and we will figure out what will make things click for you.  The study skills you are learning now will build a foundation of success in the future.  Never give up and keep your head up, you are a smart girl that will go far in life.

There has never been moments where your dad and I have felt more proud to be your parent than seeing you compete in sports and athletics.  When we went to Dallas and watched you nail your stunts in your cheer competition your joy and success was ours too.  You were a star.  This summer watching you compete in the triathlon was awesome.  You were the first girl out of the pool and kept your head up even though you got way behind on the bike.  When we saw you come around the corner during the run portion it brought tears to both your dad and I's eyes.  You never gave up and pushed yourself so hard to catch up it was inspiring. 

Sometimes I know that you feel less close to your dad than the boys but sports is where you connect to each other.  He is so proud of you and can't wait to see what your future holds.

We love you so much (even your brothers) and are so excited for this next year.  Remember you are young only once so please don't push things so hard to grow up.  Live today for everything it is worth and stop wishing for tomorrow.  Know that dad and I only want the best for you and are not trying to be mean when we say no to so many of things you want (like make-up!). 

Much love,


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