Tag Archives: birthday letter

8 Years Old

Total honesty… not the cupcakes I made for B’s Dr. Suess birthday, yet. These are the ones I’m planning to make. I’m sure they’ll look JUST like this. Really!
from goodlifeeats.com

One more birthday letter for the year…

First up, my favourite Guest Poster: the Dad.

Dear B,

As you’ve been telling me for weeks, you’re 8! Today it’s finally true! And, since you’ve been telling me “Happy Birthday Daddy!” several times a day for the past year, today I’m thrilled to be able to say, “Happy Birthday B!”

It’s been another year of adventure for us with you, as we wait with expectation for your next surprise that will have us laughing loud and long. Often it involves layer upon layer of dress-up clothes. Lately it’s involved you shouting, “Blow me down, guys!” and when we do, you teeter and squeal and eventually fall down backwards. Of course, once you got one laugh, we were destined to play this game about 800 times. That’s okay though; it’s still just as funny as the first time.

This was the year your world got rocked. After almost 8 years as the unchallenged ‘baby’ of the family, there’s suddenly a new baby on the block – one who’s not afraid to stake his claim to everyone and everything in our house!

There was no way to fully prepare you for what was coming when we decided to add S to our family. As much as we talked about him and explained that a new brother was coming to live with you, we couldn’t really help you understand what was about to go down.

We worried about how you were going to react to this new little person competing for our time and attention – not to mention your toys! And, truth be told, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. You gave us a good run for our money for a little while there, finding ways to get our focus back on you, for better or worse.

But through it all, I was amazed at how you loved S. If you were upset about all the changes, you didn’t take it out on him. You’re not known for your patience, but I think you’ve been extraordinarily patient as you and your brother have adjusted to each other. You’ve shared – often willingly – and you’ve been a wonderful, loving big sister.

You’ve also grown up in ways that I didn’t foresee. Maybe Mommy and I being busier than normal has caused you to try things for yourself instead of waiting for us to help. I’m not sure, but I know that you have seemed much older and more independent these past few months. You’re talking in much longer sentences – it’s wonderful to be able to have real conversations with you!

Amidst all the changes, I hope you know that some things haven’t changed. My love for you hasn’t changed. My promise to be here whenever you need me hasn’t changed. The fact that I am so proud of you hasn’t changed. And your ability to make me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed before hasn’t changed either. Thank you for bringing so much joy into my life. Happy birthday!!!

Love from,

Your Daddy


Today you are 8-years-old.

For most people, 8 is when the cute starts to wear off. Not you. You remain as cute and sweet a little girl as ever. Except when you are cute and ornery. Even then, we’ll keep you.

This has been a big year for you. A lot of change and a lot of growing up have made for a bumpy ride at times, but we’re getting used to the drama. Our life is never boring, and usually, we have you to thank for that.

You are a born comic. There is not much you won’t do for a laugh. You’ll yell “Blow me down, guys!” until we’ve stopped what we are doing to puff in your direction, at which point you flail your arms, make worried “aaah, aaah, aaah” noises before collapsing in a heap on the ground. Your gales of laughter afterwards are contagious. Each night before dinner you lead us in the song “Open/Shut them” (presumably to ensure that our hands are properly folded for prayer time), then thank God for the food and for the cats who are partying. You’ve decided that your horse at therapeutic riding is named “Toot”; which is the word for ‘fart’ in our house and consequently, super-funny (he’s actually named “Dot,” but you will not be convinced otherwise).

You’ve always had a lot to say. From the beginning you taught me that everybody has stories to tell, whether they can express it or not. But this is the year we’ve begun to understand so much more of your stories. It is such a gift to hear your thoughts and ideas and strange pretends. You love to jump on the trampoline, then when “BubbleMan” comes, we are all required to lay down. Okay, so I still don’t understand a lot of what goes on in your world.

You are a true believer. When you are pretending, you do it with your whole heart and assume that it is just as real to the rest of us. Whether you are barking as a dog and eating your snack off the floor, or wearing 6 fluffy skirts, a neck tie, large floppy hat and mismatched shoes all afternoon (the costume of choice for a discerning “pwetty pwin-cess” we’re told), or even answering to a nickname (sweetheart, honey, silly goose…) – you will very seriously demand my attention, throw your hands out and trill “It’s me! B!”

The biggest change this year has brought is your sudden acquisition of a baby brother. Since he is not actually a baby, but the ripe old age of 2, you have actually acquired a partner in crime. Most of the time he is your little shadow, dogging your every step, getting into your stuff, and trying to hug you with his entire body. You have been mostly patient, if not a bit alarmed by his desire to wrestle. He’s a pretty good sport too, because you’re sister-ing style is somewhat tyrannical.

We call you the “Dastardly Duo,” and you have brought mischief to an unheard of level in our home. Just last week I noticed the bathroom door was closed with both of you in it (never a good sign). Worried that you had once again blockaded yourselves in the room (took 1/2 an hour to extricate you last time), I rushed in. Just in time. To see the sink overflowing onto the ground while you happily splashed one another. As I bundled up the sopping towels, having turned my back for no more than 2 minutes, I heard a piercing shriek. You had both climbed into the tub, fully clothed and turned the cold shower on. I was just relieved that nothing found its way into the toilet that day.

I’ve probably written more in my blog about your funny little quirks and extreme stubbornness, ahem… determination, than just about any subject. It can be a challenge, but you are certainly worth every long day, tearful break and prolonged battle of the wills. Because at the end of the day, you are a kind, gentle, funny, strong person. And the world is a better place because you are in it. And I am a better person because you are my girl.

I love you!

Happy Birthday 8-year-old!


Age 12 and On the Threshold

Another beautiful birthday cake from Aunt Erin. Thanks!


We are teetering on the brink of Teenagehood. And it shows. Some days you could easily pass for 16. And others I find you still playing like a girl. There is something bittersweet about these threshold years.

It seems to be flying by. Even you have wondered at how quickly time passes this year. Trust me, it only gets worse the older you get.

I will miss the child you’ve been. Not my first-born, but my first-grown. My first panic about exactly the right baby food consistency and the proper potty training technique and how exactly to broach the subject of sex. My first vicarious thrill as you stuck your little toes in the ocean and met the “Real” Cinderella and fell in love with characters in a book.

Once again you are blazing a trail for your siblings. And strangely for us as well. We don’t always know what to do or say, if anything. And I’m pretty sure you’ll have a few things to discuss with your therapist someday. Whether it is because or in spite of us, you have become a lovely young woman. And we are so proud of you!

You are kind, thoughtful, easy-going, nurturing, gracious (with the glaring exception of your closest sister, hmmm…), intelligent, and talented. We hear all the time how mature and responsible you are. But the compliment that thrills me most, are the frequent ones about your gentle, loving spirit.

We see it everyday with your baby sister and your new brother. You are like a second mommy. And though we try to protect your own childhood, you (and your other sister) have eagerly jumped in to help out when we need it. You have been such a blessing to us this past year.

As you look forward this year and childhood fades behind you, I hope that you will use that analytical brain and extreme love of planning to prepare for life you want to lead. This is the time to make many important decisions which will carry your into adulthood. Who do you want to be? What will you devote yourself to? Where are your limits and boundaries? Who is your God?

We’ve made most these decisions for you as a child, but in the next decade we will slowly hand all the control over to you. It is not easy to step back, but we are not worried. We can already see glimpses of the woman God intended for you to be and we are thrilled with what we see.

The teens are an exciting, overwhelming time and there will be times when life and hormones and emotions may seem to overwhelm you. It’s easy to simply react. So many poor decisions are made impulsively, without the bigger picture in mind. Don’t let anyone or anything take your purpose from you.

Be calm and easygoing, but don’t be a doormat.

Be kind and thoughtful, but don’t be people pleaser.

Be nurturing and generous, but find a balance.

Be responsible and conscientious, but let other’s take the lead too.

Be creative and orderly, but get messy.

Be godly and devout, but open-hearted.

Be yourself, but try new things.

More and more our role is to be a consultant rather than a manager. We will always be here to listen and advise and pray and hope the best for you. You may outgrow stuffed animals and clothes bought in the children’s section and bedtime hugs and kisses (though you WILL continue to give them, for my sake if nothing else), but you will never outgrow your Mom.

I love you. I believe in you. And I am incredibly proud of you!

Happy 12th Birthday L!

Love Always,



Happy 12th birthday, my almost-teenager!

It’s funny… as I sit down to write this letter, I realize that I’ve been thinking of you as older than you are. Truthfully, I have a hard time believing you still have another 365 days left of “childhood” before we officially enter a new era.

Today, you’re legally allowed to babysit for other families. You’ve been babysitting for us for a year already.

At the age when other dancers in your school graduate into the seniors’ class, you’ve been dancing with the seniors for two years already.


Though most parents would think of their 12-year-old as “one of the kids,” we think of you as a seriously contributing member of the family. Your return to school in a week and a half will not be a relief or a break for us; it will mean that our best helper is now away for most of the day, busy with school and dance and friends and youth group and everything else that fills this life that you’re building for yourself.


We’ve been spoiled by you this summer. Spoiled by your role as second mommy to The Littles, as you’ve selflessly cared for them and helped us manage the chaos of adding a toddler to the family. Spoiled by the joy it brings us to have someone else in the house that we can talk to at an almost grown-up level.

I hope you know that we appreciate all that you have given to this family this summer. I know there are times when we have been consumed by the chaos, and we have barked an order for you to “Watch The Boy!” as we have dashed off to care for someone that needs caring for, without a please or a thank you or an I love you. We’re big believers that, in a family, everyone is expected to chip in and do their share. But that doesn’t mean that we take it for granted that we do, or that we don’t notice and appreciate the sacrifices you have made.

Of all our kids, you are the one who was gung ho about adoption right from the start. You didn’t care what it might cost you personally; you knew there was room for one more in our family. You’ve backed that up since we brought S home, giving so much of your time and energy to be with him, and to help us wherever we need helping. I thank you, I appreciate you, and I love you. Again and again, I have told people that I have no idea how we would have survived the past three months without L and C. Your support has meant the world to us, and has given us a glimpse of the caring, generous young woman you are becoming. We couldn’t be more proud of you. Happy Birthday!

Love from,

Your Daddy

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