Dearest Twinkster, Girl of My Heart:
Yes, I know.
I should have had this all done, and ready to go on your birthday.
But you know how things have been lately. You've been *living* it. And so, as crazy and mixed up as things were this year for your Special Day, I wanted you to know some things now that you are Twelve.
First of all, you are standing at the very threshold of 'Teendom. And you should know that your father and I are working frantically in the background to figure out a way to keep you "Our Little Girl" just a little bit longer. You should also know that your father has been practicing his menacing glare for when the inevitable parade of young men begins to appear at the front door. That will happen all too soon for Daddy and I - and probably not nearly soon enough for you.
Next thing you should know is that every girl needs some things to make her way through the world. She needs a little black dress (remember that simple=elegant and there is a difference between "fitted" and "sausage casing") and a pair of low-heeled black pumps. She needs to know how to cook an egg three different ways (trust me...) and how to drive a stick shift. She needs a bank account of her own - and she needs the discipline to put 15% into savings every time she gets paid. Because financial independence is important. And being in debt sucks.
You should remember to surround yourself with people who are positive, so that you can remain so as well. You must remember that anyone who tells you that they are giving you "constructive criticism" is usually seeking more to tear down, than rebuild. You need to approach the world with your head held high, and your shoulders back, and your back straight; you have every bit as much a right to be here as anyone else.
And most of all, remember that the "mean girls" are just sad, lonely, scared little people. They have no inner resources to rely upon. They have no one who tells them how special they are, no one who is honest with them, no one they can trust. They are merely beautiful shells that seek the spotlight to try and warm the emptiness within... and they never understand that the warmth they seek can be found through true friendship and love.
Finally, as you grow up this year, remember that no matter what happens - no matter what you do, or what you say... Daddy and I love you with all of our hearts. You can never change that - no matter what. There is nothing that you can do to make us stop loving you. You are our one and only - and best and brightest and sweetest daughter. And because we love you, we will do things like fuss at you about getting your homework done, and making your bed, and cleaning your room, and putting things away. Because, believe me, if we didn't care about you, we just wouldn't waste our time and energy.
But we do care.
So very, very much.
So, here it is again - Happy Belated Birthday, to the best kid in the world.
We love you!
Mommy (and Daddy, too!)