There's a popular song with the lyrics, "You don't know you're beautiful and that's what makes you beautiful," and i quite hate those lyrics.
You are absolutely beautiful, and i tell you that you're beautiful often, and you're very aware of the fact that you are a gorgeous little girl. But you don't really care much. You're incredibly comfortable with who you are, and don't much think about it one way or the other. (In fact, more so than your brothers, you think that bodies are hilarious and natural things. Farts? Hilarious. Boobs? Hilarious. Naked babies? Cute. Boys without shirts? Whatever. Your brothers find all of those things sort of horrifying.)
But you're beautiful in so many ways that have nothing to do with the way that you look. You're incredibly kind. If i ask you if any of the kids in your class aren't very nice, you're hard-put to think of any. You see the best in everyone. You make people feel good about themselves. The kids in your grade are...a rowdy bunch. Kind of obnoxious as a whole sometimes, to tell the truth. And you'll roll your eyes, but you never - not ever - come home and tell me any stories about anyone who was mean or naughty or got in trouble. If i only knew about your class from you, i'd assume everyone was on their best behavior at all times.
You are a sensitive soul, and when you're tired or overwhelmed or sometimes just for no reason at all, you have a way of becoming melancholy and heartbreakingly sad. There are days when you'll cry, "I'm so sad!" and i'll ask why, and you'll cry, "I don't know!" Some of this, i'm sure, are hormones changing and tween-ness setting in, but you've always been a little bit melancholy, and i kind of love that about you. Not that i want you to be sad, mind you. But i tend to be a bit melancholy myself, and i feel like that's something we share, a trait that connects us, somehow.
You're so girly - you like pink and dresses and long, cute hair and manicures and girl's nights. You still love your American Girl dolls and love to dress them and do their hair and play school with them. You like to design clothes and draw and color. You temper it well, though, with strength and a refusal to accept that girls have to play a certain role. You got a doll bed for your birthday today, and you grabbed a screwdriver and helped with putting it together.
This year you joined Girls on the Run and ran your first 5K and loved it. You joined band, playing the flute, and you're loving it. You started going to Fifty6 at church, and you're loving that. You just love to be part of things. You love to be involved. You love people.
And now you are eleven. Too old to show your age on your fingers. Two years from teenager-hood. Half as old as i was when got married. (That's an insane thought right there.) You're still little, but so close to being grown up. When you were a baby, i really didn't want you to grow up, because i loved every single thing about you and didn't want you to change. But you did grow up, and i absolutely adore the person you've become.
You make me laugh. You are a delight to have for a daughter. You are incredibly generous and kind and sweet and loving.
And THAT'S what makes you beautiful.