Today is your 17th birthday. Happy, happy birthday my sweet, precious girl. Seventeen years ago today it was very hot in Memphis, Tennessee. We weren’t expecting you for a few weeks. In fact, we had scheduled your arrival so my doctor could be the one to deliver you. This was the first of many times that you had a different idea and you did what others were not expecting! You have a habit of exceeding expectations!
You were born at 8:40 PM and you made a loud arrival as if to say “What are you doing? I was comfy in there. It was safe and I liked it. Well, for the most part I liked it. You might work on your singing. And what is that Hog call thing?” My friend Vanessa said you were born with your hands up “praising the Lord.” I knew you were calling the Hogs. Your dad says you are a good schmoozer, and I guess this should have been our first clue that you would be a master negotiator!
We were excited about your arrival and you were loved, celebrated and honored by many people for months before you announced your arrival. We were a little scared, too, though. I was scared for all the reasons any new mom is afraid. My solace was in having a lot of good mom role models and faith in God. They told me you looked perfectly healthy on your ultrasound. Still, a new mom is always concerned about her baby’s health. But they were right. You were perfectly healthy and perfectly you. The Bible says that you are God’s handiwork (Ephesians 3:10.) I like to be in control, but if I’m honest I must tell you I was a little afraid of all that I had to learn and that I might mess up. I tried to hide it though and we figured things out and keep figuring things out. We have met a lot of great people who have helped us, loved us, supported us and taught us.
You were born with magnetizing blue eyes and a million dollar smile that lights up a room. You have a sweet, kind and loving disposition. Like your daddy, you have a tender heart. I think negotiating is your spiritual gift. You don’t like for me to say this, but you are a bit stubborn and you have a large helping of independence. Sometimes you are a little too sassy. You might have inherited those me. 🙂 Yes, there are those days, but most days I celebrate because I know those traits will serve you well as you negotiate life.
Your daddy and I say you have lived a Forest Gumpesque life. You have had the most interesting things happen, and you have been blessed with lots of amazing opportunities. You and your life have been celebrated. You work very hard and you have an extra portion of courage. You are the most loyal friend and you are a self-proclaimed Jesus follower. You have become quite the little self-advocate! Some of your life events have been a result of your work ethic, courage and your great perseverance. And then sometimes life just happens. In the course of life happening, like all of us you have had hurts and struggles. You always emerge with a smile.
Seventeen years have gone by too quickly. You laugh at me when I say I can’t believe you are 17. You have a great laugh. You say “Don’t be sad that I’m growing up, Mommy.” It’s not really sad though Rachel. I’m happy you’re growing up, but since you are all grown up and 17, I have a secret to tell you. I’m more scared than sad. I’m scared about getting it all right these next couple of years. There is so much to think about and lots of new things. I feel so unprepared.
Seventeen years ago today I was a little scared, too. Now just look at you and us? I guess I’ll just keep taking lessons in courage from you – and maybe negotiating.
Rachel I’m so glad God chose me to me your mom. You are the best thing ever. Always remember, I love you MORE!