Happy 8th birthday!
To my sweet, rainbow loving daughter on her birthday.
Eight years ago we knew you were going to be an August birthday, but what day was anyone's guess. An afternoon phone call had daddy and me scrambling for flights to Los Angeles and making arrangements for your sister. A few hours after landing and after almost being born inside a car, you came into this world screaming and didn't stop for months. In the words of a nursery nurse, "This one likes to be held."
While the milk allergy diagnosis stopped your screaming, nothing stopped your desire to be held. And now 8 years old, you are still my cuddle bug. You hold my hand, give me hugs, cuddle with me on the couch, in my bed, in your bed. You love hugs. You love to be embraced and feel our love. A hug can fix everything. The best part....you love to give those hugs. You know a hug can cheer up your sister, a friend, anyone. And the smile that comes with those hugs, it makes my heart melt.
At eight years old you have not lost that twinkle in your eye or the radiance in your smile. You might be the happiest person I know. You can find the positive in anything. Whether we are running errands or at Disney World, you approach the day with sparkle and joy. You see the wonder in the clouds, the possibilities in an open field, the dream of what a day can bring. Your heart is pure. You are the joy to anyone you meet. I absolutely love this about you and pray you always see the rainbow in the storm.
At eight years old you have proven once again that while you may have been down, don't ever count you out. Sometimes I cannot believe how capable you are. You spent so many years needing my help, it is challenging to let you grow up and be independent. But that is what you are, independent. And while I miss sharing in your successes, words will never convey how truly proud I am to not only see you soar, but to be a by-stander and watch from the sidelines. You are more incredible than you know. You are an independent, strong, capable girl.
At eight years old you approach every challenge with the same grit and determination you have had since birth. You completed first grade with new friends, strong self confidence, and a desire to keep learning. But the real challenge, the one you fought tooth and nail to achieve, was to secure a place on the swim team. And half way through this summer, a month before turning eight, you tried out for the team. You were scared, nervous, and cried. You had second thoughts. With all these emotions stacked against you, you walked through the pool gate alone, dove into pool, and proved to yourself what we already knew....you are a fantastic swimmer and belonged on the team.
At eight years old you are courageous. Each week you swim at swim team practice you show me you are nervous. Sometimes the motor plan throws you off, sometimes you make a mistake (which we all do), sometimes it is raining and despite any hiccup, you find your courage and keep on trying.
In two days you start second grade and I know you have hesitations about tests, quizzes, and numerical grades. At meet the teacher, you tucked those hesitations away and courageously walked into the school. You flashed your smile to previous teachers, introduced yourself to your new teacher, and I knew immediately with every challenge this year will be bring, your courage will keep you going strong. Like I said, you are brave.
At eight years old you are loving, caring, kind, a friend to anyone you meet. You think of others and how they feel. You are inclusive. You are genuine. I am in awe of how forgiving you are of others. Your heart may break a few times as you get older, but it is a true heart of gold and I love watching your love spill into all you do.
At eight years old your imagination is incredible. The smile on my face when I hear you playing is from ear to ear. Playing school, house, or restaurant your creativity is simply amazing. I love to hear the stories you create, love to watch you make them come alive, and love how even in make believe you are the same genuine, hard working, courageous girl. Even in make believe you do what is right and are always thinking of others.
At eight years old you are just incredible. You teach me every day about patience and perseverance. You teach me every day about unconditional love. You teach me every day to try my best and be the best person I can be. It is actually fitting that you desire to be a teacher or librarian because without even trying you are the best teacher I have ever had.
On this eighth birthday, I wish for you a year filled with your favorites - Rainbows, unicorns, smiles, M&Ms, white cake with no icing, American Girls, friends, sleep-unders, achievements, hugs, love, and of course swimming.
Happy 8th birthday, baby girl. Keep on being you because you are amazing.