Tomorrow, our daughter Pandorah starts eighth grade. EIGHTH GRADE!! It’s hard to believe. I know we all say that as kids grow, but it is. It’s bittersweet in many ways.

I still see this tiny, smiling little girl. The little girl who wore a size 5T purple corduroy skirt and purple shirt with birds, on her first day of kindergarten. She was so full of smiles that day. It was infectious. She couldn’t wait to get there. To wear her new backpack and carry her lunchbox. Couldn’t wait to see her teacher, Miss Clark and to make new friends, and most of all – to learn.

I was so proud of who she was then at 5 years old. Over the years she continues to amaze me. Even through the craziness that is parenting, of life handing us some unimaginable hands, she continues charging forward! She learns, she cares, she hurts, she struggles, but it is so amazing to watch her as she grows.

I love you, Pandalina. You are magnificent. You make us all so proud. Remember as teenage days get harder, more annoying, more dramatic (they always do!), I will always be in your corner. I will always cheer you on. I will always, always, always be here for you and love you. I couldn’t be prouder to call you my daughter. I am honored to be Mommy all these years, and to marvel as you grow more into the skin of this incredible creature that you are. It is one of THE greatest gifts I’ve ever received. I love you, my chicken. You are phenomenal.

In The Little Prince, one of your favorite childhood books that Mama used to read you, is the quote, “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.” Your heart feels so much and sometimes you can’t understand it all, and as you prepare for this new school year with new challenges and adventures waiting, I know that your heart and all it’s “feels” is making you into more of that person you’ve alway been, building up more of that little kindergartner that had her own “save the world” club. You are already doing amazing things for others. Keep doing those things but also take care of your own heart. . Kick ass, my eighth grader!!

Always, Mommy