1. The minute you were born you looked at me with deep blue eyes that have since changed to green, and a love story began. I knew you trusted me to make your world as good as I possibly could. It was the first moment in MY life that I knew I had some worth to somebody.
2. Your first ponytail made me cry. I am not sure why, but I think it had something to do with a symbolic moment of your progression from being a baby to a little girl.
3. The day you fell on the kerosene heater and burned yourself was one of “the” worst moments of your life and mine. To hear you cry like that in pain and not be able to make it better. I know you learned something about the harshness of this life, and that you trusted me to make it all perfect for you just a little less.
4. Your Snow White “dreams come true” nightgown. When you put it on and twirled around, it was the first time I saw you know that you were pretty. There have been few moments like this since – because you don’t realize the gorgeous creature that you are.
5. The beauty pageant. Four years old, you walked out on stage all frilled up, and chomping on your bubble gum like a cow chewing its cud! I wondered how we got there. You taught me that conforming to the world’s standards of beauty, and their way of rewarding it was not for us.
6. The day you cried. You were five years old and we were headed somewhere in the car. It was in the days before airbags and you were in the front seat beside me. I looked over and saw great crocodile tears were pouring from your eyes. You looked up at me and said, “I don’t WANT Jesus to die on the cross!” Your heart was too beautiful.
7. The day you became a big sister. You had waited for months saying, “Baby sister come pretty soon!” to everyone who would listen. You surely felt ripped off that she couldn’t jump up and play with you – and it was a scary moment putting her in your chubby little hands.
8. The day you went missing at the park. I was sure someone saw you and HAD to have you for their own. I was thankful to find you had walked off with some other little girls, although I stepped right in the middle of a football game in progress to get you back, and almost got tackled.
9. Your baptism. You smiled like you had just been crowned Miss America. I was so thankful for your faith. It inspired all who knew you and still does today.
10. The spelling bee. Days before the spelling bee, we knew you were under a lot of stress about it, and you said to me, “Mommy, if I represent the Christian homeschoolers, that means I represent Jesus, and what if I don’t do a good job?” You took this so seriously. The word bolero ended your career as world class spelling genius. I think secretly you were relieved it was over.
11. Meeting your baby brother for the first time. When you walked into the hospital room and saw him, you said, “It’s like a dream come true. *sigh*"
12. The day Thumbelina died. Although she was only a small dried tree limb, in your imagination, she was your precious friend. Daddy was tried and convicted for careless homicide. I’m glad you forgave him.
13. Things not opening. You always had such an incredible way of describing things – and this was one you used when something was too tight. Your shoes were too tight, “I can’t open my toes!” Your car seat was buckled too tightly, “I can’t open my butt!”
You have been a precious light in our lives these 16 years my beautiful daughter. Life would never be the same without you. I know that there will be many more moments at the intersection of our lives that take my breath away. Knowing you’re my daughter always does! Happy 16th Birthday baby!