Today is significant because you turned eleven, and although it is your day, the fact of your birth marks the day that I became both your mother, and a mother.
Soon after you were born, as your father and I admired you, we agreed that we wanted to raise a strong-willed girl. In that, we have succeeded in spades. You are so effortlessly authoritative that on occasion I have found myself responding to direction from you before I remember that I am the mother, and I give the orders around here. And though we'd like to take credit for the manifold ways in which you know, and express your heart and mind, the credit belongs to you.
Your kindness, maturity, humor and conscience are wise beyond your years, and often leave me speechless. I thoroughly enjoyed your last parent-teacher conference, which was less a critical assessment than a forum in which your teachers and I swapped stories about about your many forms of awesomeness. I left with a shit-eating grin on my face that did not subside until sometime after I fell asleep.
I know it's hard to comprehend that your birthday is not a national holiday, and it was only because you were sick that you got your wish to take the day off from school. And while it is disappointing to be sick on your birthday, I think we had a pretty good, albeit ordinary day knocking about together. I think you are well on your way to learning, at a far younger age than I ever understood, that try as we may to manufacture memories, they fail in comparison to the way in which the mundane is sacred, and the best moments often arise unbidden, in the crevices between running the vacuum, and throwing another load of laundry in the dryer.
You are remarkable beyond my wildest expectations, and I am forever grateful for the privilege of being your mother.
Happy birthday, beauty; I owe you some macaroni and cheese.