I’d been happy. I’d been blessed. But I’d never felt the kind of joy I felt when I found out I was having you.
A rough little babe, sick and crying often, it hurt my heart not to be able to make the pain go away. But you grew into the sweetest little cherub, with rosy cheeks and golden hair that bounced with curls.
You loved Barney, My Dog Skip, Mary Poppins and the horrible, awful, Teletubbies but we bought you every single one.
I knew there was something extraordinary about you. Something special that God had breathed into your soul. I remember walking into your bedroom late at night, you were only about three.
“Mama, there’s a little girl in the jungle. She’s so sad because she lost her mommy and daddy and she lives with her grandma. And now her grandma is sick. God said I should pray for this little girl. Will you pray with me?”
With tears, I knelt beside your bed as you prayed for this little girl not to be scared and for God to take good care of her. I believe He did.
When you were four, we ate at Lambert’s and the paramedics came in. A man was having a heart attack, but you didn’t know that. You only said, “Mama, we should pray for him.” And you got up from the table. Your boldness and courage inspired and convicted me.
You speak your mind. You are wise beyond your years. It never ceases to amaze me. While, I’m not unaware of your flaws and imperfections—as we are not perfect people—I marvel at the good choices you make. I thank God every day that you are not like your mama at that age. And I know it must only be the grace of God as I am an imperfect mama.
I’m not the mom who throws elaborate parties or creates homemade goods. I never monogrammed a single dress you wore, or designed your room like a magazine. I wasn’t your room-mom or even crafty. I am still not. I never read a book on parenting. I make mistakes and you always show me grace and forgiveness.
And I love you. Hopelessly, wildly, desperately. Love you.
I love our open and honest relationship. I love that you want to hang out in my room, on my bed, watching old movies and talking about boys and the drama at school. I love that you feel able to ask me questions about anything, and I am always honest and I never judge. And you never judge me. I love that you want "girl" nights/times/days. Not for what I can buy you but because you love spending time with me. I love that we laugh until you puke and I pee my pants. And then we laugh over that. We laugh and make jokes and even go to self defense classes together! I love our whispers late at night. I love sittin in the back of the van with the hatch open, looking at the stars and getting eaten by mosquitos while we talk about boys, God, our dreams and hopes. Our fears. And how ridiculous boy bands are. I have loved taking you to see the Cheetah Girls, and Justin Beiber back when he was actually cool. I love that I can make fun of you for it now. And you make fun of my Vampire Diaries obsession.
I love going to the Mexican restaurant with you and spilling salsa. I love letting you know which guys are scoping you out (pretty much all of them). I love it when you tell me what dirty old men are scoping me out. Eeeew! I love laughing in the grocery store until we're almost kicked out.
I love keeping you up at night with my horribly bad jokes that amuse me. I love that you don't repeat them! I love that you secretly record me because you think I'm funny. Or stupid. Either way...
I love being your mom. I love being your friend. I love being your best friend. I love everything about you, and I would never change a single thing.
I love the way you fight for others, when you feel they have no voice, you are their voice. While I don’t always agree with your methods, I love that you feel compelled to fight and defend. You express your mind and you can articulate it in a clear and concise manner. You’re responsible. You’re a leader. You’re a world changer. You’re called and designed for a purpose that only you can fulfill.
You are the head and not the tail.
You are loved unconditionally.
You are free.
You are lovely.
You are more than a conqueror.
You are able to do anything and everything through Christ, who is your beloved.
You are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
You are a joint heir to Christ.
You are holy unto God.
You are His treasure.
You are His dove.
You are strong.
You are courageous.
You are able.
You are a soldier. A fighter.
You are hands.
You are feet.
You are a mouthpiece.
And you, my precious one—whose name means in charge and able—are mine, too.
My heart is full. Because of you.
I am blessed to be called your mother. And your friend.
Happy 16th Birthday, daughter!