Nine years old – almost double digits – halfway to eighteen. While you may not be tall for your class, you still seem so big to me. So many mornings I turn to ask you what you would like to have for breakfast only to find your eyes ever nearer mine. Getting to know you now is less and less about what color or animal you like best, but more about how you think and how you feel. This is a little bit of what I know about you.
You are an extremely responsible young lady. The other day I forgot to send back a signed form with you to school. I apologized when you walked in the door and you insisted that it was not my fault and that it was your job to remember it. This is not out of character for you. Your sense of right and wrong has always been strong. True to your first-born status, you are a rule follower. It bothers you terribly when you see someone else being dishonest or unkind or mean in any way. You are good to others even when they really don’t deserve it.
When asked you still tell us you want to be a teacher when you grow up. And truthfully, I think you would be a wonderful one. You have this marvelous capacity for patience and gentleness with little ones. When I take a shift in the church nursery you beg to come along just so you can play with the little ones. You and Maddie (and sometimes Hunter) play school together. You delight in encouraging others and cheering them on as they learn.
You are a marvelous and voracious reader, but not always a bookworm. You love to read at night and seem to devour books at a rapid rate. You do very well in school and you work hard to master concepts, ideas and information. I am especially proud of how hard you have worked at math. But I want to tell you something important: you don’t have to be perfect. You are so focused and determined and in ways that is great. But I also want you to feel free to get it wrong every once in a while. Go ahead and take the risk that you might not always be right. It is when we make a wrong move that we learn what the right ones are. I love that you try hard but I will love you just as much when you fail.
You also love to play. Legos are the toy of choice in your life. You and Maddie (and sometimes Hunter) spend hours and hours on end at your lego table downstairs. You construct entire villages, enjoy them for a few days and then start all over and make a new “legoland”. The two of you are so inventive. If you see a set you want in the store, you will race home and immediately begin constructing your own marvelous and creative version. You have complete confidence in your own ability to build anything your mind can dream up and it is fun to watch.
Almost every night we read together. We read the entire Little House on the Prairie series this past year with Maddie as part of the bedtime routine. The two of you loved it. And now we have started reading Harry Potter and the two of you are complete obsessed. You ask me questions all the time about characters, motives, events, etc. I love how your mind is always working and always wondering. That is a quality I think we share. Stories captivate and enthrall you. This is so true that you have begun writing your own little book called “Chicken and Pig”.
You have changed from my dress-loving little lady into a more mature and sportier version of you. I don’t know exactly why or how this happened, but I’m trying to go along with it. Fall soccer was a big hit with you again this year, though we found that the competition level had gone way up at the third grade level. It required a lot of extra effort and strategy on your part, but you learned pretty quickly and had a great time.
I am often amazed at your ability to take a step back and really consider your responses rather than just reacting. When another girl said something unkind to you, you simply said with a quiet but gentle firmness that you had other talents. You didn’t get in her face or burst into tears – you merely let her know that you were not intimidated. When I offered to buy you some new clothes a few weeks ago you merely shrugged and told me you thought you had enough. You are almost always calm, but you hide your feelings well and it takes some time and gentle prodding to get you to talk to me.
You are not my silly goofy kid, but you are extremely creative. You are not the most outgoing extroverted child, but you are unfailingly kind and helpful. You are not a naturally gifted student, but you work hard and get good grades. You are very quiet but always thinking. You are outwardly strong but extremely sensitive.
And it is your sensitive heart that calls to me the most. I want your life to be beautiful and joyful and free from struggle. And yet, I was recently reminded that it is in the struggles of your life that God will draw you to Him. And more than I want an easy life for you, I want your life to be marked with your trust in His unfailing love and kindness.
I promise you I will walk with you every step that I can. But when I can’t or when you need to go on your own into new adventures, then I hope you know that your every moment is covered in my prayers. I pray that you will continue to handle adversity and challenges with grace. I pray that your feet will dance on disappointments because you have chosen to trust His hand. I pray that you will use your unique and wonderful gifts to worship Him, serve Him and love Him.
You bring so much joy to our hearts and I can only just begin to imagine how much God delights in you as well. He has great and wonderful things planned for you, my Reagan girl. His quiet strength is as evident in your life as His love and tenderness. I have loved watching you grow into this beautiful young lady these past 9 years and I am so excited to see the next 9!
Happy Birthday beloved girl. I love you so.