Happy 13th Birthday, Hadley!

Dear Hadley,

I never thought I’d be relieved to see birthday #13 but your 12th year of life was a huge roller-coaster and I, for one, am glad to put seventh grade behind you. It was a tough year for sure. Moving away from the friends you’ve known since birth and getting thrown into the lion’s den of middle school is not for the faint of heart.

(Chief Mountain Summit)

The long delay in selling our house had its advantages: it meant one last summer to spend with your Colorado friends and you played ’til your heart’s content with parties and fun. You went to High Adventure Girl’s Camp in Leadville, summiting your second 14er. You then flew out to Utah the following week to attend Girl’s Camp with our new ward where you made some awesome new friends and camped in the Uintas.

You went to Canada, fell in love with wakesurfing on the lake, played in the mud, stampeded and were your usual unconquerable self. Later in the year, you had some other memorable adventures like getting “Maximum Interlodged” (snowed in) at Alta, flying back to Colorado Springs for the Great Wolf Lodge grand opening and spending New Year’s with our besties in Colorado.

Even after we moved from our beloved Colorado home and had those two months of commuting from Park City, you adjusted well. You made new friends at school and church. You went above-and-beyond in your academics and landed on the honor roll for the first time. You became newly obsessed with your appearance and spent hours doing your make-up and hair in the bathroom and are turning into a beautiful woman.

Things were really going your way until they weren’t. Call it hormones, call it “Pomegranate” boy drama, call it being 12 and in middle school but your self-confidence tanked, as well as your happiness and grades. Those few months were some of the worst of your (and my) life and you’re slowly clawing your way out. I’m not sure what happened to trigger everything and maybe I’ll never know. Maybe it’s just all a part of growing up in a messed-up world where your every insecurity is compared to those gleaming, filtered examples in social media. Maybe it’s just part of leaving your childhood behind. video games, technology held zero appeal to you but you have turned into a full-fledged teen this year with YouTube and texting obsession on your iPod. My hope is you will find some way to reconnect with those passions. Like your Grandma B., you were born to create, to imagine, to dream. I’m hoping your newfound interest in photography will be a way to fill that void.

It’s all part of growing up and I’m trying to grow up along side of you but it’s painful to watch your beautiful daughter struggle to figure out her place in this world. The one thing that has been repeatedly confirmed to me is that you will not do anything unless you want to do it but when when you’re on fire, you’re unstoppable. You fell in love with volleyball and are constantly setting the ball against the wall. You’re going to a couple of volleyball camps this summer, as well as Keystone Science School where you’ll backpack, rodeo and kayak your way through Steamboat Springs.  Your love affair with skiing is still going strong and we sprung for season passes next season (or at least our credit card did and we’re slowly paying it back).

You have also recently started playing in a girl’s Rugby league this week (what could possibly go wrong there? :-) and on Saturday, you and I conquered Utah Zipline’s Adventure course where I saw you leap off a daunting platform and careen down the longest zipline in the world over water. That was not for the faint of heart–and neither is being a teenager–but I hope you’ll embrace these next years with the same bravery and confidence that have brought you to this point in your life.

Channel your resolve, embrace the suck of these years and, remember these wise words from S.C. Lourie:

Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn things.

Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal.

Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions.

Be sad, because if we are brave enough we can hear our hear’ts wisdom through it.

Be whatever you are right now.

No more hiding.

You are worthy, always.

And no matter how tough that road may be, please always remember that you are loved.



P.S. For a stroll down memory lane, read letters for your 12th birthday11th10th, 9th 8th7th6th5th4th3rd2nd and your birth story.

High Achieving Week at Outdoor Lab

Hiking Chautauqua

Deer Valley hiking

BYU football with Coscmo


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