Maddie's Turning nINe.

**I keep telling the kids to stop growing. They must stay 8 and 5 forever. These ages are dreamy and beautiful and other than their sibling bickering {which, if we're honest, is incessant} they are delightful little creatures.

Tomorrow {today for those of you reading this on Friday}, our sweet sweets turns nine. {9} That seems positively impossible. I remember as they say, like it was yesterday, that the doctor said, "It's a girl" at the same time that Jack said, "It's Madison."

Dear Maddie Mae,

You are nine in the morning {6:40am if you want to be precise} and I really, really want you to stop growing older. Tomorrow at lunch, we'll sit around the table, having our special 'honor the birthday person' celebration where we'll each say what we love about you, especially this past year. How we've seen you grow, what character traits we see that you have developed, etc.

I'll be honest, I could take up all the time myself, telling all the things I love about you but I'll focus on just a few.

Maddie, you are a brave girl. Why just this past few weeks you have learned to water ski all on your own. You've been scared to do that for several years now {and that's okay because we all have things we're afraid to try}, but the grand ending to this little story within your bigger story, is that you faced those fears and just this month, you learned to ski. You tried and tried and didn't give up and that is something you should be VERY proud about.

Maddie, you have a really big heart. Why just this year you decided that you were going to start a knitting business to raise money so that Jackson could have his very own World Vision child to sponsor. And while the knitting is still going on, you have already raised enough money so that we now have a picture of sweet little Takudanshe AND your Florence, side-by-each on the fridge. Your heart is HUGE and the really neat this is that it has been this huge for years and years.

Maddie, you are learning new skills. Besides the water skiing, you have taken up kayaking this summer and you are really good at it. As in, you can steer and maneuver and turn around and zip along quickly and I think you've even caught a turtle while kayaking. And then there's your diving. You've gone from belly flops to beautiful dives complete with toes pointed. The skills you are learning have been so fun to watch.

And this is the year that your love for music soared. Your voice is so pretty. You love to sing in the car and we love K-LOVE, don't we? In the past month or two you said to me, very seriously, "Mom, I love singing more than reading. And you KNOW how much I love reading." WOW.

You know what sweet girl of mine? I love singing more than reading, too. And you KNOW how much I love reading. Singing has always held a special place in my heart and I can't imagine my life without music. I started harmonizing to the Gaither Trio back when I was just a little bit of a thing, and haven't stopped. All types. All paces. All decibels. All genres {except rap. Ick.} I'm taking you to Ravinia this summer, as I promised, and we will sit on our picnic blanket and listen to the music that is classical and your little heart will be moved by the music and you will fall in love with the rise and fall of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. You will be hooked. I just know it. Because that apple didn't fall far from this tree.

Maddie, at 9-years-old,
... you still love to catch turtles
... you still love your mom and dad but insist that we not call ourselves Mommy and Daddy because it's embarrassing
... you still have a flair for fashion, knowing exactly what outfits to put together. I love how you dress. You are unique and bold and I love that you wear what you want to wear and you do not care about what others think.
... you love watermelon
... you don't like school and complain often about the fact that there is no recess. {I'm with ya, babe; I can't imagine school without recess either.}
... you love Miss Iris and South Park Church
... you love being at the Lake.

... you keep asking if we could please adopt another child {a girl} and I keep saying, um, no. With a capital no. {Go see your Aunt Sarah if you want another girl in the family.}
... you like green and blue as your favorite colors
... you got glasses this past November and you look SO cute in them. Everyone says so. You can't see things at a distance very well.
... you still love going to the Botanic Gardens with me. Promise me that when I get too old to take myself, that you'll take me and push me around in a wheelchair. Please promise me that. {I'm not sure why, but writing that last sentence just made me start to sob. I'm obviously secretly afraid that I'll somehow be left in a nursing home with no visitors and no glimpse of the outdoors and that I will shrivel up and die in that atmosphere. That's a terrifying thought.}
... you love all things Chronicles of Narnia
... you love horses
... you have told me several 'secrets' this year and I will keep them always. Just between the two of us. Tucked deep inside. That's really, REALLY important to me and I pray that you always trust me enough to tell your secrets.
... you are beautiful, on the outside AND the inside.

Maddie, my prayer for you is that this coming year, as you enter 4th grade, that you will continue to develop your compassionate heart and have/find opportunities to use that heart of yours to help others.

I am praying that this year will be the year that you will develop a few more really close friendships with other girls that love Jesus so that you begin to realize the power of good friends in your life. {I'll be honest, this is a huge, HUGE deal to me and I will be relentless, the rest of your years under my roof, about the friends you hang out. I have super strong opinions about this.}
 I am praying that you will live a courageous life at school, knowing when to be bold about your love for Jesus and when to quietly live out your faith so that they see that you are different and that the difference is Jesus. 

I am praying that you will have a growing love for your brother. Please Lord, answer this one quickly. {for my sanity's sake}

Maddie, I am so proud of you. Of WHO you are. And of who you are becoming.
You are my sweet sweets and I will love you always. No matter what. And THIS picture above is my very favorite picture of you as you go into your 9th year, taken just two weeks ago.

I love you more than you could possibly imagine!

Love, Mom{my}


Grayson said…
beautifully written as always (Maddie, u will always be beautiful to me). and YES I cried as I read that same sentence! luv to you all on this glorious bday celebration week!

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