I have not written here in far too long. But I could not let April end without writing to you during this your birthday month. I have been thinking about you a lot these days since you turned nine, your last year in "single digits" as you told me!
As usual, we celebrated with breakfast and cinnamon rolls and fun surprises wrapped in paper and glimmering in the morning sunlight. I brought ice cream cups - and your new baby sister, as you requested - to your third grade class on your birthday. Grammie gave you a beautiful family dinner and a perfect bag of surprises, and there was that fun day when we went shopping to spend the gift cards you were given. Your gift from us and our final celebration - our "girls getaway" overnight trip with your BFF - was a blast! We had so much fun in the sun!
But what I wanted to tell you was how much I love you. How beautiful you are, and how radiant, and what an amazing person you are becoming.
How you are at this wonderful age with a beautiful mix of little girl and maturing young lady. Still innocent, yet wise. Carefree, yet intuitive. Still dressing like a princess and having a room full of dolls, yet also into fashion and style and shopping and ipods and, of course, the ever popular Rainbow Loom.
This is a fun time in your life! It is a fun time for us together.
You are smart and successful at school and other activities, but I've never heard you boast of such. You take your gifts in stride and I love that about you. You are faithfully involved at church. You are one of the kindest, happiest girls I know. I admire that kindness. You are a friend to all, able to interact with adults, helpful with little ones. You were already a great big sister to your brother, and now you are becoming an absolutely amazing big sister to your baby sister! I can only imagine how much she is going to look up to you as she grows. She has a wonderful example to follow.
I want you to know that though I don't always get this mothering thing right, I am committed to trying with all that is in me. We have so much fun together as a family! But while I enJOY being a mom to the fullest, I also take motherhood very seriously. I pray for God's wisdom and ask for forgiveness when I get it wrong. You are so full of love and forgiveness when I need it. And I am grateful for the times when we get it right. When we choose words carefully. When we make choices that honor God. When we laugh so hard that you start to hiccup. Oh, how I love that!
I also want you to know some important things that will help you as you grow. I was talking to Daddy about this passionately the other morning. There are some major transitional years heading your way. And Madi, I so desire for you to grow and mature in God confidence. I want you to clearly know who you are and Whose you are. The world is filled with insecure girls who grow into insecure teenagers who turn into insecure women. These insecurities manifest themselves in very damaging ways, yet there is a better way...God's way. I hope and pray that you will grow up confident in Christ alone and grounded in His Word. You don't have to chase the same image or things the world does. Don't become consumed with self. Remember, all that glitters isn't gold. And all that seemingly promises fulfillment often comes up empty. But in God's presence is fullness of joy!
That is what I want for you as you continue to grow from little girl to young woman. This is what I am praying for you. Because if you are in Christ and live according to His Word, the rest will come together. I promise...pinky promise!
Madi - my first little love - thank you for who you are and the joy you bring to our family and to so many! Your radiant, dimpled smile comes from deep within. Jesus is evident in your life already! I pray you continue to grow in Him and that being nine years old will be a fabulously fun year filled with the best of memories!
I love you more than you will ever know.