We lived in town.
We had an actual car, not a van to drive our little family around.
We were a family of three, starting nine years ago, March 2nd.
Anna Grace was born.
And now, here she is, nine years old, halfway to stepping out of here on her way to college.
Don't get me wrong, I am not sad that she's nine.
I'm happy that she's growing up. Although she started in this world as the queen of the castle, lone grandchild on my side, singleton in our family, she didn't wear that title long. However, that never seemed to phase her, and instead, has helped her grow into a responsible, helpful, kind, loving and creative child. I have reflected upon this before.
This morning, however, when I heard Joe say that she's halfway to college, it made my heart stop. As I was getting ready for church this morning, I had to take a minute to get it together.
When did this happen?
How did she get so grown up?
Have I allowed her to be a kid?
In her nine years, have I made her grow up too fast, having baby after baby, expecting her to buckle her own seatbelt, hold the bag as I fumble with the little ones, walk alongside the stroller as I pushed the little ones?
However, before I begin to cry again, I feel like our decision to have more children, has not hindered our kids. In a kid ike Anna, who was already fiercely independent, our big family has given her the opportunity to be creative and independent, and this will serve her well, and already has (you should see her report cards!).
While she has had to grow up maybe more quickly than other nine year olds, her personality, determined independence and tender heart have been fostered by our big family. She stands out in our family, and I credit her interesting personality to that. We have always allowed Anna to be who she wants to be, even though it seems to be the opposite of what I ever expected my first, sweet pink baby girl to be, and even opposite of even what her friends expect her to be (believe me…I heard the conversation on our way with three other girls to her birthday party!). But this doesn't bother her.
This is wisdom beyond her nine years.
I hope we can keep this part of her spirit for the next nine years. Wouldn't that make junior high glorious?
Anna makes me beam, puff up with pride, but, especially today, cry.. While those precious days with her in a stroller and us living in town seem like a lifetime ago, it also seems like just yesterday we were bringing her into our house in town. Will the next nine years blink by, too?
I'm afraid so, but I know that even though her birthday always makes me just a little teary, the days that she will make me smile and proud and excited will outnumber those that make me wistful.
Happy birthday, sweet Anna. May you never lose your spark (I'll call the yelling at your sisters in the background right now a spark…but just for today), your individuality (did I mention she received a stethoscope, bow and arrow and some Legos today??? Not your typical 9 year old girl gifts…), and your loving spirit. We are so, so proud.
|This morning, Legos and a bow, not for her hair!|
|My big girl, with her big girl hair do, the one she requested.|
|Upon completing the most annoying 300 piece puzzle. Success!|