eight

4 May

Dear Analise,

Today I look at you and find myself thinking, where did my little baby go?  Instead of chunky cheeks, crazy hair, peaches and cream skin, and endless kissable rolls, I see a vibrant, articulate little girl with endless sandy blonde hair, long legs that can do the middle splits, cartwheels, and scooter races until they ache.

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When I look at you, my heart is full of joy.  You, little girl, made me a mommy.  And with that?  My heart experienced love and tenderness that I did not know could exist within me.

You and I?  Well, we are a lot of like.  You are articulate, opinionated, compassionate, and very sensitive.  You are also a pleaser, a doer, and a noticer.  If someone is in need, your first response is, “How can I help?”  When someone is sad, you draw them pictures, write them a note, and tell them that you are praying for them.  And then you don’t stop praying for them until you know that they are all better.

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And while I like to pridefully think that these good attributes came from me, I painfully recognize that you have inherited my intensity.  This?  Well, I’m sorry.  You don’t like surprises to our routine unless it means fun desserts and times spent with friends and family enjoying life.  You question everything.  You chew on it, toil over it, ask more questions…and then you make a resolution and stick to it.  And all the while, you are intense about it.  In fact, I think we exhaust each other most days.  All I can say is, I’m sorry.  I know, I know, we butt heads a lot.  And, I think we both know that is what helps us to understand each other so well.  We feel things deeply.  And sometimes that is a blessing and at other times, it is a curse.  I pray you experience the blessings most of all.

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And your daddy, well, you are his only daughter here on this Earth and I know the love that he has for you penetrates deeply into his soul.  You are often the only one who belly laughs at all of his dry (not funny) jokes.  You, like him, like to play on words and create silly puns.  All that is goofy in you, you’ve gained from your daddy.  That light-hearted spirit about you that is so him, I hope you hang on to that forever.  And, lucky for you, you have your daddy’s brain for school, with just about every subject coming easily to you.  You never shy away from a challenge, though, I’m pretty confident that you wouldn’t mind being done solving multi-digit multiplication facts (or maybe that is just me) until next Fall.

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Your brothers, they adore you, and you don’t even realize it.  When you are gone, not only does the testosterone level sky rocket as the boys try to wrestle each other into oblivion, but the general rhythm in the house changes.  Your extreme girl-iness centers your brothers and is a constant reminder to be gentle and kind.  The other day, I watched you playing t-ball with your brothers and my heart just about burst with love:  James was at bat and of course standing the wrong way at the tee.  You straightened him out, helped him swing the bat and then cheered him on as he rounded the bases.  Seriously?  When did you grow up, child?

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At 8 years old, you could run this house for a day, if ever it were necessary.  Visitors often joke, “Geez, mom, you can go ahead and take a vacation, Annie has got it under control.”  You can cook simple meals, clean, take care of James when he needs help in the potty and pretty much teach Jonah any of his subjects in school.  I can always count on you to help me when our days get away from us, “life” happens and we are struggling to get out the door to the next event for the day.  You have a maturity about you that is a privilege to witness.

One of my biggest joys in being your parent is teaching you about our beautiful Catholic faith.  God has blessed our lives beyond measure with the Good Shepherd program and you have embraced your faith in a profound and deep way.  When I asked you to write out why you wanted to receive your First Holy Communion, you wrote:

I am going to tell you why I want to receive Communion. I want to receive it because that is Jesus. Jesus will come into my heart. The seed of faith will grow even stronger. Communion is so important because I am receiving the light and life of Christ. It helps me to live the Maxims (of Jesus). It will help me to love more, and know Him more, and to stay with Him. It is a gift.

Yes, Analise, it is a gift.  And yesterday, once we spent an hour curling all that hair of yours, getting you dressed in your beautiful white dress, and helping you into your little heeled shoes for your First Holy Communion, I was overcome with a vision of something similar on your wedding day and I admit it, I got teary.  You looked beautiful.  And what was even more amazing was that your heart was filled with such joy.  You love the Lord deeply and you humble me with your insights and questions.  My prayer for you is that you always remain this grounded in your faith and that you will continue “remaining” in Christ so that you can bear much fruit through him.  Because sweetheart, I’m confident that God has big plans for you.

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So on your eighth birthday, know that I’m sitting here humbled, wondering how in the world I got so lucky to be your mom.  Thank you for being my sweet Analise Grace.

Love and prayers,

Momma

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