I am trying to account for the years that have passed. The days were long, but those years... they somehow went by in a blur of car trips and Christmases and endless errands and sleepless nights. And now, we're here, your sisters and dad and I watching the simple ceremony that says, in one more way, "You're moving on."
Claire was so happy to see you up there, dressed in black and white, conducting your class while they sang. And your baby sisters were so happy to see there were two cakes. :) I really enjoy watching the four of you together. I hope you always stay close to the little ones who look up to you, and your "almost twin" that's always been right there to play anything you dreamt up.
You are now too old to stay most of 180 days in the brick building around the corner. You're done with the elementary school you walked into as an adorable, bespeckled first grader, with all the confidence and optimism in the world. School would be easy. It was fun for you. Until it was hard, and homework lasted for hours. Then it wasn't so fun anymore. It was kind of sad to see that happen, to witness how life increasingly makes more demands on all of us.
But I know you are equal to the challenges you will face. You already stand before an audience with ease, whether dancing, singing, or speaking to a crowd; you did it today, with your short speech about your time at the school. Art and music come easy to you. Daily, you're writing down more German words in your notebook, something you just decided to do on your own. Just like you will simply sit in front of piano and pick out the notes of a song. With younger children, you are nothing short of a wonder; every baby and toddler adores you. You are already a nurturer, a protector, even already a teacher, the profession you want to have someday. I'm sure you'll be successful enough to eventually have that big house for children you want to have. :)
You have always taken me by surprise, from the first moment I realized you existed. And it has always turned out to be a good surprise. Even though, I confess, the responsibility of raising someone as precious as you was completely overwhelming for awhile. But you have been worth every effort I've ever made. From waking up early to french braid your hair this morning to first learning how to use that awful breast pump and waking up every four hours to do so. It has all been so, so worth it. And you are worth more than that. Enough for God to give His life to spend forever with you.
You're worth so very much, but you don't comprehend that quite yet. You're at the age where self-esteem is being assaulted by a silly, silly world that says girls must act a certain way, say certain things, weigh certain pounds, dress certain ways. Please, please don't listen, beautiful one. No one else but your Creator can define who you are. Nothing and no one can replace the beauty that you are.
If I let you read this now, you will roll your eyes a little, smile bashfully, and say, "Uhh, thanks mom." But someday, I think you will understand. Someday you may even write something similar to my grandchild, a note that will make you cry and make them embarrassed and will make me smile.
I love to see you grow up, even though it's sometimes hard for me. I'm so proud of you.
"In all thy ways think on Him, and He will direct thy steps." Proverbs 3:6