To my daughter, on your seventh birthday…

To my daughter, on your seventh birthday,

This year is nearly a blur for me and

I know for you, it couldn’t go fast enough. There’s something about the age of seven, suspended between toddler and tween; little, but not so little anymore. Those eight teeth you’ve lost betray your baby fine wispy hair and let the world in on our little secret…you’ve grown, when I expressly forbade it. Your sense of humor, often awkward and reticent, but absolutely precious, keeps me guessing in which direction you’ll pounce next. You process concepts that seem far too big for your tender heart and I see little snips of innocence dissolve as realities of certain sin and hurts sink in. That part of growing up is the hardest for a mama soul to witness. But, just as I must accept your vulnerable heart and your burgeoning wisdom, I must also accept the dear friend you are becoming to those around you. I am the center of your world no more. As excruciating as this revelation is to my ego, it is so beautiful to be front row at the show of your grace, generosity and caring nature. You are a good friend, baby girl. Never underestimate the power of your smile and a kind word. The world is better for both. You experienced true heartbreak for the first time this year and I believe it has created in you a tender spot for those who are less acknowledged than you are.

I’m proud; proud of your gentle way with your baby sister and how you’ve just assumed the new norm of sharing your birthday without many a grumble; proud of your eagerness in school, proud of your desire to learn God’s word, proud of how you give new ventures your very last drop of enthusiasm, proud of how you try with all the TRY you’ve got to have patience with your brother, proud of how you teach and model for him how to be a generally cool kid, proud of how when it comes down to it, you stay true to yourself. I’m proud of how you’ve handled this year of doctor appointments and hospital stays for your siblings and more nights away from mama than you’ve had the rest of your life combine with absolute grace. You’ve never blamed anyone and even in your sadness, you’ve still managed to be a comforter. That’s a huge undertaking for a little kid. But then again, I suppose you aren’t so little anymore.

You are truly my sunshine. When I was pregnant with your sister and we discussed what it meant to be a “rainbow baby,” you started to cry and asked me, “but if this baby is a rainbow baby and Griffin is a rainbow baby, what does that make me? Am I nothing?” Oh, my dearest, sweetest- souled girl…you, YOU are my sunshine girl. You gave me the name “mama” and forever and always YOU will be my number one. So, today, the day that you flip the calendar page to lucky number 7, know that you have me in your corner. You have my prayers, my support, my tears and my hugs, whenever, wherever and for however long you need them. I love you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back again a hundred million times. Always intentional. Always pure in action. Always determined, yet sweet…always my Charlie girl. Happy birthday.

Love, Mama

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