Wow, twelve years old! Where did that time go to? I still remember a time when you were a cute three year old jumping on the Cornell big red track mat with a big gap where your tooth got knocked out. I remember the trip to Disney World where you asked to stay in the Magic Kingdom until it closed only to give up and plead to go back to the room early. I remember the first time I touched you and your tiny hand grabbed my pinkie. The strength I felt that day, twelve years ago, is still in you today.
You are off at camp in North Carolina making everyone who loves you so proud of you. You made the Rifle Team and then went down the road and beat the boys - on their own turf! I wonder if you remember the first time I took you shooting when you were seven. You handled that .22 with ease and shot bullseyes the first time. I have taught many Soldiers and Cadets to shoot - you were the fastest learner.
You also made the Sailing Team which made Lisa very, very proud and a little envious. That is an achievement no one else can claim in your family. Bravo! I hope your sailing skills will help me learn to sail. You can teach me and I hope to be a good student. I know Lisa will be anxious to show you off to her friends!
You are growing so fast amid a world where you are presurred every day to assume more maturity than the world ought to give you. And I realize I am sounding old when I say it, but twelve year olds don't need to know how to Twitter, Facebook, or omg txt msg lol bff. In my heart I wish there was a way for you to stay younger and enjoy the last of your childhood, as fleeting as it is, before adolesence and young adulthood intrude.
However, I see the woman you are becoming. Its always been there; independant, smart (and sassy), artistic, musical, a bit of the drama queen, and a kind hearted champion for the underdog. You will achieve things your mother and I never had and maybe never imagined for you. I need to remind you that you are not alone on this journey. You have been, and always will be, surrounded by parents, a brother, uncles, aunts, and cousins who love you very much. There is no end, and no measurable depth for our love for you.
Enjoy you day! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I will be home soon.