Happy 11th birthday letter to Hadley!

Dearest Hadley,

If I had two words to describe your 10th year of life, they would be GROWTH SPURT. You’ve always been tall but you hit puberty and shot up this year–you’re almost a full head taller than your friends and the second tallest kid in your class. I bought you size 5 running shoes several months ago and you complained they no longer fit. Assuming you were melodramatic, I procrastinated replacing them but imagine how badly I felt to learn you jumped up to a women’s size 8 shoe!

At Cinderella

You’ve had a wonderful, complicated year as a fifth grader and will sadly be leaving your beloved Waldorf school.

But it hasn’t been all bad. Having a teacher who can’t organize and manage your high-spirited class has perks like lack of accountability and non-stop chaos! The silver lining is the interventionist at your new school quickly determined you are a visual-spatial learner a.k.a. a “topsy-turvy kid” and it has opened up a new world of understanding and resources about how to help you succeed as a whimsical right-brained thinker among boring left-brained losers.

This also explains why you dominate me in every craft and art form known to (wo)man. You have a gift of making your surroundings beautiful. When I clipped some lilacs from our bush, I unceremoniously plopped them in a glass. You took the time to rifle through our China cabinet and find an ornate glass that doubled as a vase.

Before bedtime, you like to wind down at night by drawing magnificent landscapes and animals. One time, you were bored and didn’t know what to draw until you saw a cookbook Grandma B. had sent you so you spent the night etching mousse and seven-layer cakes. I hope your next endeavor will be cooking them and I’m happy you inherited another trait from your dad’s side of the family. I think it’s called a metabolism.

Thanks to your bestie London at school, you sang and danced in your first real play as Annette Funecillo in all her pink-eared Mousekeeteer glory. You also performed in your class play but had one of those blasted Sirens (mythological creatures that lured sailers to their death) lure you away and straight into a pole. You showed us that boring Greek Mythology is worthy of America’s Funniest Home Videos. 

You had a blast at overnight Camp Chief Ouray and are ecstatic to return to horseback ride for your third summer. You love volleyball, Fat Kitty, Clash of Clans, Harry Potter, carbs, swimming, your new queen-sized bed, leggings that double as pants (side note: they DON’T), The Broadmoor brrnch, pumpkin growing (within reason), travel, your church friends, wakeboarding and playing on our new trampoline even though gymnastics ain’t your forté. Congratulations on finally (kind of) mastering a somersault.

You thrive in the outdoors and though you complain when we drag you out, we can’t reel you back in to leave because you’re truly in your element. You’re in excellent shape after training for the multi-school Pentathlon the entire year and placed 1st in sprints, 2nd in the long-distance run and continue to dominate Bode daily in Greek Wrestling. It is your goal is to climb your first 14er (14,000-foot peak) this summer. There’s no question you’ll be ready but the bigger question is can your old, beleaguered parents keep up with you?

When I asked you the highlight of your year, you always turn to our travels and cited “Mexico,” followed by Canada, Utah and multiple ski trips that included Aspen, Crested Butte and Copper Mountain.

You love BYU TV’s sketch comedy troop Studio C and are developing a wicked sense of humor with impeccable timing–could improv be in your future?  Many of your friends and brother are tender, sensitive souls while you are a hilarious, bold, immutable spirit. You have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, but one thing I know for sure: you will be a force to be reckoned with.

You are a great skier…so  long as your parents aren’t around. When we were at Buttermilk, Dad and I were on the chairlift and saw you bombing down a black-diamond mogul run with your ski school chaps. As any good parents would do, we started cheering and catcalling, which caused you to lose focus and free-fall down the mountain before you finally regained your composure, thanked the heavens for your “wonderful” parents and kept skiing.

No matter where life leade you, we will always be your greatest cheerleaders–even during your worst wipe-outs–and particularly during the times when we’re the ones who cause them. Thanks for being patient with us.

Always remember that you are cherished, loved by your family, friends and most importantly, your Heavenly Father.



P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, read letters for your 11th birthday10th9th 8th7th6th5th4th3rd, 2nd and your birth story.

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