I used to be really faithful about writing birthday letters to my kids. And then I stopped. I am trying to get back into the habit mostly because my kids treasure the letters I have written. I have them all in a book and they will pull them out and read them and are so delighted to read of the younger versions of themselves and their siblings. So I begin again.
My dearest Adelia,
The story of you coming into our lives is one I treasure, because it almost didn't happen. I was so afraid of all the what-ifs, and I had to take time to allow the truths of God's word to sink into my soul and chase away all my fears. And He did, and we said yes. And we brought home a failure-to-thrive baby that was you. It would be another six months before you were officially adopted, but from the moment you were here, in our home and in our arms, you were ours. Our hearts pretty nearly ached for all the love we had for you.
You were so tiny. (We used to give you your baths in the bathroom sink; that's how tiny you were!) The label failure-to-thrive that was given you at birth now astounds me when I think of it. Because, my girl: you positively thrive. You are full of life and passion and will and sass and oh, you are funny. You have so much to say and so.many.questions. You ask questions every two minutes. You are noisy. There is nothing quiet about you. You do everything fully and loudly and with zeal. You are generous. You are friendly with every single person you meet. You are the socialite of our whole family. You are impulsive and you are strong and you are brave. I see all of that in you, every single day, and I think of the grace of God who has fashioned you so; who took the tiny little you and flourished her into your eight-year-old self and all that you are. He is so good.
(And this is the part you may want to skip over for the next few years, at least. You'll think it's b-o-r-i-n-g. ;) But it belongs here.) I have learned so much about being your mama. I have learned that behind your tough exterior you hide your insecurities. And behind your stubbornness is a need for grace and kindness. God has patiently instructed me over and over in regard to you that kindness leads to repentance. You respond well to silliness; to tickles and a gentle chiding of humor to smooth your furrowed brow. You won't often initiate affection, but you need it and you want it. You like your back scratched and me to pull you onto my lap and hug you and pull you beside me on the couch and read to you. (You will grab my arm and try to tuck it around you-- which sometimes makes the turning of the pages difficult, but we work it out-- and you want the blanket over us, no matter what the season.) I have also learned more practical ways of being your mama. I have researched and learned (thank you, internet) how to take care of your curls and your beautiful brown skin. There is so much I don't know and it is often a challenge but it is a part of the story of us, isn't it?
Eight. These are the things you love at eight years old: Tiger. (Our cat.) More often called Buddy from your mouth. I often tease you that you're more excited to see the cat than you are me-- or anyone else, for that matter-- in the mornings. ;)
You love being read to. I will agree to read to you-- one book, I'll say-- and you find the longest story on the shelf. And about twelve others. You are active, and like to do anything the boys do.
You have learned this year to sit and play independently, but never quietly. You are generally singing at the top of your lungs or yelling loudly as you play throughout quiet times.
You like playing Barbies, jumping on the trampoline, and pestering your siblings. (Ahem. The last of which we're working on, constantly.) You love drama and sometimes when things are mellow I think you like to go stir something up just to create some action. ;)
You love to swim, and when the sun is out, you will talk incessantly about swimming. (Nevermind that you don't actually know how to swim. Yet. No matter. You will learn because you love the water.)
You love to ride your bike but you'll groan if we're going for a walk or a hike because that's just not moving fast enough for you, I think. ;)
You always wish you are about ten years older than you are, because you think that with age comes a phone, a tablet, a computer, and keys to a car. (One of your favorite questions is, "When I'm ____ (fill in the blank with any age), will I get a phone?" You haven't yet figured out that the answer is always no. ;) Along all the gadgets you want at that magic age, you will also want all the trips to McDonalds you can squish in (ew!) and any movies you want to see, and swimming whenever you want. ;)
You LOVE sour cream. Sheesh, girl. We always have to watch you when there's sour cream on the table because you would pile it on and eat it all up! Sour cream is your love language. Well, that and jam. And burritos. Casa. And breads of any kind.
You are really good with numbers but have struggled to learn to read, and I know this is frustrating for you. I keep telling you that you will learn in your own time, and some things have come easily to you (learning to ride a bike, for instance, or chatting with anyone you meet) have been more challenging for your brothers and sisters. In the meantime, we'll keep reading to you and eventually you'll get there and will forget there was a day when you didn't know how. :) You like school because you want to do what "the big kids" are doing, but you like short lessons and need lots of assistance to keep you on task, because you're easily distracted and will often get up and go do something else.
You love to be "in the know" and want to be the first one to know what we're having for dinner (so that you can announce it to everyone else), or where we're going (so that you can inform everyone).
You revere your older brother Isaac and you love trying to make all the other kids laugh. You also know how to laugh at yourself, which is a gift in itself.
My prayers for you are for a tender heart; one that is responsive to our instruction and to the ways of God, and for kindness. I also pray that God will hone your passion, your strength and will to be used mightily for His purposes.
You are a delight, my girl. Beautiful and abounding with life.
Happy birthday to you,
Love, your mama