|Yes, what you see in the picture is what she got for Christmas. I did not notice this in the picture until 2013. It went upon the blog in 2009. Well, there you go... you don't get to pick your parents!!|
That beautiful young woman sitting on the couch on Christmas morning is my firstborn. Today is her birthday. I know it seems so cliche' to say that it seems like only yesterday but it does. Life is about living and we did it. But the truth is when I think of the 22 years that I have had the joy of having Annie in my life it is like flipping through a scrapbook in my mind. I was never the mom who took pictures just so I could scrapbook them. (Yes, I have felt guilt over it!!) But as long as the Lord wills, I have them tucked away in living color, incredible memories, written on my heart, the story of my life.
As a baby, I remember her begging for "real food" at an Asian restaurant when she was six months old, walking across the living room without any awareness of what she had just accomplished at a year old, and waking to eat a bowl of oatmeal before going back to bed when she was 18 months old. I remember her "sympathy morning sickness" as she joined me leaning over her little plastic potty those weeks when her little brother began to make their Momma sick. Then a few months later, I had her at the kitchen sink washing her hair before we went to the hospital the day of Jared's delivery. I wanted her hair to look pretty in the pictures. I will never forget the morning she looked up through huge red oak branches at a blue, blue sky when she was about 2 1/2 and asked me, "Is Jesus coming back today?"
Those are just a few things that pop up in my memory immediately but there are many more. The days before school started were filled with chaos with two in the house. Toys were strewn and play dough was made, and there were always finger paintings to be painted. And then the first day of school came and I thought I would die. I drove back to the school at recess and watched from my car on the hill above the playground as she struggled to get a swing. Broke my heart. I should of checked her out right then and there. The days came none too soon when were homeschooling and had no trouble getting to play on whatever playground apparatus suited our fancy when we spent afternoons at the park, many times with our friends the Bloomfields. What precious and fun days we had together at home those years when Luke arrived and Annie became the best extra set of hands any mom could have. I can see her chasing him and reading to him and watching Blue Clues with him. Annie, Bear, and Luke filled my days with exhaustion and I never noticed how quickly the time was passing. I wish I had savored it more, but even with that regret, I wouldn't change it for the world.
I'm sorry that life got harder for my babies when Annie hit her teen years, at least the early ones. Sometimes God allows life to turn a direction you had not expected. He does it for reasons too difficult to explain to immature hearts. Unfortunately, I know my children's lives flowed along in the wake of the turbulence of my life. I know those events shaped Annie but I trust God that He will use my own struggles and their impact on her to cause her to draw more and more from the Well of Life that Jesus is. I trust this will happen and I pray for it.
This year has been incredible. What a feat to get the house ready for Annie's wedding and then having the rain come down! But the wedding happened anyway; not like we had planned but beautiful in the confines of what had to be. Of course, it's not a place that makes a wedding. It is the people, especially the bride and groom! We couldn't be happier for Annie that God brought Caleb to be her life partner.
Now months later, we celebrate Annie's birthday. She doesn't live in our house, but it certainly has not changed the way we feel about her in our hearts. The little strawberry blond girl with the deep, deep dimples grew up into a beautiful young woman that I call my friend. How blessed I am and grateful that God gave the privilege to be her mother.