Dear Mado Annie,
I know last year was hard. I watched you go from loving school to dreading it, a sickness that developed in your stomach every Sunday night at bedtime. I’m sorry you had to go through that.
I didn’t know “mean girl” drama would start in 2nd grade. I didn’t know that your teacher wouldn’t see it. I didn’t know how lonely and isolated you felt every day. I didn’t know you were practicing your ballet dance in the schoolyard because your friends didn’t want you to play. I didn’t know then. I know now.
Despite all of those challenges last year, you are still the most amazing young girl I know. You are beautiful. You are smart. You are kind. Generous. Caring. Compassionate. Inclusive. Confident. Funny. Friendly. You are a better version of myself and your dad. You are all our best features and very little of our worst.
I wish you could see what I see when I look at you. I wish you could see comfortable you are with who you are. Many girls are not. I wish you could see how you don’t care what others think. Not really. Not the way I did or I do. For this you are lucky. I hope you stay that way. I wish you could see how proud I am when I look at you.
I know last year was hard. I hope this year isn’t, but it might be. Despite what people say or how they treat you, please remember you are beautiful. You are smart. You are kind. You are generous. You are caring. You are compassionate. You are inclusive. You are confident. You are funny. You are friendly. Remember you are all those things and most importantly, remember to stay that way. It doesn’t matter if you make all A’s or turn in all your homework (although I hope you try and improve). What matters is that you stay those things because you are wonderful just the way you are.