We have a teenager today.
Anna is 13.
While today is a little atypical from our usual birthday celebrations, it is and will continue to be a big day.
Sitting alone in a downtown Chicago hotel room as I write and reflect on my first day of being some one's mommy is a strange space to be. However, I find this space in being alone in my thoughts allows for good reflection, feeling #allthefeels. As I think about that 36 hour endeavor 13 years ago, and the last 13 years- as cliche as it sounds- these years have flown by.
You guys, our Anna is pretty amazing. When I tell people I have six kids, I always lead with the caveat that I have the most helpful big kids a big family could have, and it starts at the top.
Anna was born older. Born exactly on her due date, she was almost nine pounds, never losing any of her birth weight during those first tender days. She walked early, talked early, read early, reasoned early. I don't know if that's just a sweet symphony of her development or personality or if she just rose to the occasion as more and more little Webels joined her in the ranks.
Regardless, this kid, this teenager, is one with great potential. On a birthday, you can't help but reflect on those tender toddler days. First day of kindergarten. First basketball game. First cattle show.
But as I think about those days I had at home with my little Anna, I can't help but feel this burst of pride and excitement for the next chapter. While society wants us to think that teenagers are difficult and dark, Anna is has brought so much happiness and light in our life. Those first years are sweet and exhausting and exciting, but just in the past year, our girl has proven to be thoughtful, thought-provoking, inquisitive in a mature way, responsible in more than just the "do your homework" way.
Anna is different from our other kids. A bit more of an introvert, she is also extremely funny, super smart and driven without being overly competitive. While her goals include exceeding in judging, starting in sports, and winning the state discus title, she knows that her worth is more than those titles. Her walk in her faith just recently has given our whole family a new light inside.
See? This kid is powerful.
Anna, we treasure you. We truly do. Your life is one that will continue to surprise, impress and challenge us.
13 years ago, I was excited to be your mom, excited to start that journey. 13 years later, same day, I'm still feeling that excitement.
Dear heart, you are tender hearted. While your character is strong, life is hard. Please know that we want you to experience the hard, but to know that we are always the soft spot to land.
Dear heart, we have you in our house for just five more years. Every day I watch you as you make your own lunch, practice your guitar, ask me or your sisters to sing along, work your calves, know that I am watching you, cheering you on, valuing every minute we have together.
Dear heart, we love you. Dearly. Truly. Always.
Happy, happy birthday to our sweet #1 girl, Anna Grace. Our teenager. The one who started this all, set the bar high and keeps us going.