When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


To My Big Birthday Girl

Dearest Maddie,

I have put off writing your birthday post.  For over a month.  I didn't forget.  I wasn't too busy.  I was waiting... for the perfect post.  Then I realized, that post was not coming.

You see, in my head, I had planned to create at least 18 blog posts documenting your perfect birthdays.  Friends, family, beautiful decorations.  All-American birthdays with candles and cakes, and everyone smiling.

The truth is, this year was very different.  Not better, not worse; just different.  For starters, we moved from temporary housing (where we'd been for our first 2 months in Singapore) into our permanent home on your actual birthday.  Boxes and movers everywhere.  Since the muffin tins were still packed, I couldn't bake your cupcakes for school this year.  Instead I brought donuts.  You were ecstatic.

Grammy arrived that night around 1AM.  Early Friday morning before school you ripped open your presents from Grammy and Aunt Natalie and Uncle John.  You also opened gifts from Pappy, Grandma and Grandpa, and mom and dad.  You couldn't wait to get home from school to play with them!  (Of course, you couldn't play for very long because it was Halloween after all, and even toys can't stand in the way of sugar!)

Months before our move, when we first learned we would be living in Singapore, you immediately began to beg for a birthday party on the beach.  Halloween took up one weekend, the next we were traveling to Borneo, so your party was a few weeks late.  We took a family picnic dinner to the beach, with cupcakes, and tons of icing and sprinkles, so you could decorate your own.  We sang happy birthday and built sand castles as the sun sank low in the sky.  Palm trees and wild ostriches were your decorations this year.

Recently you received your first party invitation to a classmate's birthday celebration.  The agenda was quite creative and elaborate.  My heart sank just a bit.  I vowed to wait until I could throw such a party for you before writing your post.

But time marches on.  You are growing older and more lovely each day.  I can't wait for the "perfect" moment or party to document our lives.  You were perfectly content with your non-traditional birthday celebrations.  So I will be, too.

You find joy in so many things I tend to overlook.  I hear you excitedly teaching your younger brothers words and letters and giving them stickers for their efforts.  You notice and carefully collect fallen flowers along the sidewalk.  You constantly think of others, drawing pictures for them, making bead necklaces, or even giving your toys away.

We have our moments where we lock horns (particularly in the mornings when you don't want your hair brushed or sunscreen applied).  We yell.  But we also hug.  We make up.  We squeeze hands three times to silently say "I-love-you."  You still want to be carried, and girlfriend, you have some heavy bones, but I will gladly lift them up and carry you as long as you ask.

Sweet Maddie, thank you for being you.  For being thankful.  For being my darling little 6 year old girl.


  1. She's such a beauty, Jess. This post made me cry happy tears. <3

  2. Aww! Thank you, Joni. She is my precious angel!