She is sixteen today.
Her golden birthday. The baby. The youngest of four daughters.
This week I realized according to house and family rules she can now date. (What were we thinking when we set the age so low?) According to state law she may now legally drive a vehicle. She will be a junior—an upper classman. And she just started her first paying job this summer.
Where did time go? When did my chubby-cheeked, sweet little girl grow up?
Momma is having a hard time. My heart aches—rips in little tears every time she reaches a family milestone. I realize with a startling profoundness that she is the last.
Appropriately her name means a father’s delight. Undoubtedly she is that, but she is also my comfort. There’s something remarkably strong and consistent about her. Something immovable.
She has always and forever been the quiet one. Often this characteristic has been labeled as shyness or bashfulness—certainly not. Actually she is reserved and incredibly observant (quietness allows you to be in places and hear and see what you might not otherwise). This youngest daughter seems ageless; her age is hard to pinpoint because she conducts herself with such maturity and levity—far beyond her biological years. I am sure this is partly due to having three older sisters, but I believe it is also just simply who she is.
Sometimes I just simply watch her. I want to drink her into my memory, because memories sometimes fade. I observe her interactions with others and am amazed and often even flabbergasted at her bold candidness. I see the gears of her mind turn—rarely do they turn with haste, instead they rotate at a calculated pace.
I love to listen and see her laugh. Her laugh is contagious. It’s loud, but wonderfully so. Her laughter comes from a deep place. It is a bubbly laugh, but not a rapid succession of small bubbles, but rather giant, full ones. Her laughter radiates from her eyes and just simply erupts from her mouth. All I want to do when I hear her (regardless of where we are) is turn and find her so I can laugh too.
This last daughter despises injustice; legitimate unfairness is an issue with her. And much to her credit, she doesn’t always side with the underdog—because the underdog may not be right.
Her discernment is new-razor sharp. She seems to assess people and situations with emotion reined. Then she often remains unattached until the discernment has been processed. We have learned to pay attention to her conclusions. The times her advice went unheeded, regret usually followed.
Once resolved she cannot be moved. Her feet remain planted until she decides differently. She sets her eyes on a goal and moves toward it with an almost alarming tenacity.
She passed her written permit test this morning. We almost shouted. My heart swelled as I watched her smile for the camera and almost cried as she gazed at her newly minted permit.
One more milestone—accomplished. One more last to check off the list.
Today I (and many others) celebrate her. We rejoice because it is her day.
She is a wonderful way to end. She is the perfect last line in this chapter of life. This daughter blesses me; she eases my heart with her soothing spirit.
She, along with her three sisters, makes me proud to be a momma.
Happy Birthday, my daughter. Happy birthday, precious, sweet girl!