Happy Happy Birthday my sweet Claire Bear!
But not in a demanding way at all. You know what you like to eat, you know what you are saving up money for, you know who your favorite super-hero is, and you know that you wanted to have a conversation with me under the influence of helium.
So, in honor of your 14th birthday, I'd like to share 14 reason why I LOVE LOVE LOVE you.
1. You are funny AND practical. See the note above about wanting helium-filled balloons. I can't wait to smurf-chat with you later tonight.
2. You are not afraid to be who you are. You are at an age where so many try so hard to blend in with others around them. Not you. You don't care if you are a leader or a follower. You are you. And that is good enough. I could really really do better in life if I followed this example more.
3. You are a young lady of few words. But the words you do want to say mean something. You are funny in a quiet way. You share your thoughts in words in a quiet way. The BEST birthday gift I ever received from you was a free pass to ask you any question I wanted and you would answer in the time it took me to pick you up from track practice to get home. Needless to say, I took a few extra left turns. You really do make me dig for information from you. But I still love that about you.
4. You challenge me to dig deeper. I sometimes do have to wonder what you are thinking and feeling. (as opposed to some of your siblings!)Those thoughts and feelings are important. You challenge me to dig deeper than I would have to with your siblings in order to get to the bottom of your day. I am a better mom because of that. I am a better person because of that.
5. You build other people up. Your siblings may think that your natural bent is to....i don't know...take advantage of them. It's funny, really. Because I know that your natural bent is really that you see the good and the talent in those around you and you don't try to out-shine them. You recognize them for the good and the talent you see. You know that deep down, it makes others feel good about themselves to be able to showcase their own strengths.
6. I hear about you showcasing your talents from others...And this is never in a show-y way. I love how you humbly accept recognition from others.
7. You are not afraid of hard work. You don't pretend to like it...but you are not afraid of it. You go to the school with your brother to shoot hoops and get in extra practice. During the summer, you would run while I tried to keep up with my bike. I think you like blending the family time with the extra work it takes to get better at what you do. I like it too.
8. Speaking of hard work...you are not afraid to come in second. Last year you played the B-squad on your basketball team. And you did great. You worked hard. And at the awards ceremony, you were awarded with both the "most points scored" and the "most breakaways." You beat everyone. But you were only trying to beat your own standards.
9. Speaking of your own standards...that is what I love about you being in cross country. You are not trying to compete with your own teammates. You are trying to do better on the course this year than you did last year. You are happy when you improve your own time. You are happy when your teammates improve theirs.
10. I love your eyes. Your heart doesn't always want to tell me what's up, but your eyes give you away every time. Your beauty and intelligence and heart can be revealed through your eyes if anyone were to take the chance to see into them.
11. Your insecurities. Yes...I love even those things. Probably because you try to hide them from the rest of the world. But I see them. I see how you have been studying for the last 364 days for your permit test. I see how you sometimes hesitate.
12. Your heart for those around you. Even mine. You are sensitive to the feelings of those around you. Like last night, when I asked you to go in to my room to get something I needed....forgetting that your b-day gift was like RIGHT THERE...you came out and said nothing. Of course I knew right away that you had seen your gift. But you pretended it was okay. You had a heart for the surprise.
13. Your dreams for the future. You are not unlike anyone else your age with hopes and dreams and ideas about what you want to be when you grow up.
14. Your future. From this moment forward. I love that the only thing that you care about for making your dreams come true is whether or not God has those same hopes and dreams. You are a better example of this to me than anyone else in the world that I know.