At 9 months old, you were an athletic wonder. We called you a "speed crawler," but you could also stand and climb up and down steps. Before you turned one, you were running. Before two, you were climbing up the highest playgrounds as far as you could go.
Now, at age 9, it probably should not come as a surprise that you are still the one to make my heart skip a beat with all of your daring escapades. You run fast, unafraid of scraped knees and elbows. (In fact, you took 1st place in your age division at your school's 5k this year - zooming past both younger and older kids as if you had wings). You still climb trees...higher, still higher, daring to balance on the tallest branch and then jumping down to the hard-packed earth below you. You love anything fast and dangerous - riding bikes, roller skating, skateboarding. When we go swimming, you flip into the pool, somersaulting into the water and then coming up for air with a grin. If we see video clips of people surfing, ice skating, roller blading, riding hover boards - you ooh and aah. "That looks fun," you quip, tossing your long curls behind your shoulders.
As the 3rd of four children, you have done a lot of watching of sports - but have not yet had a chance to play on a team (aside from P.E. at school). This makes my heart ache a little because you are a natural athlete. Strong. Fast. Determined. If you fall down, you bounce right back up - no tears. "I'm fine" is your signature line.
When not trying something that scares me half to death, you can usually be found: reading, drawing, swimming, or begging someone to play a board game with you.
You love reading - independently, out loud to your brother, or back-and-forth with me. Stories captivate you (particularly adventure and mystery stories - surprise, surprise!) and sometimes you write tales of your own. In fact, you regularly keep a journal, filling pages upon pages of memories.
You also enjoy drawing and fill sketch books in your free time. Recently, you completed a series of pictures of your favorite things - bicycles, flowers, puppies, peaches, corn-on-the-cob, etc.
Speaking of puppies, we bought our first family pet - a golden retriever puppy - in October 2020! This purchase was largely a result of your fervent wishing. Every birthday since you were 3, you blew out the candles and hoped for a dog. You even went so far as to say that you wouldn't need any other birthday or Christmas gifts if we could only please (please!) get a puppy. Now, our puppy is 9 months old and you love her.
While we are on the topic of steadfast desires, I should point out that you maintain that you want to be a doctor when you grow up. Never wavering on career choices as most children do, you have wanted to be a doctor since you were a preschooler and haven't faltered since. This resolute focus, along with your caring and courageous heart, will serve you well if you decide to pursue medicine.
You have always been a beauty, but you couldn't care less about clothes and hairdos. You throw your hair up in a wild ponytail or let your long hair cascade down your back - never glimpsing in the mirror. Shorts and tee-shirts are your style - anything that allows you to hike, camp, slide, skate, swim, and soar. You turn your nose down at impractical clothing and shoes because you insist on pieces that will allow you to kick a soccer ball, turn a cartwheel, catch a lizard, or collect special stones in your pockets.
More of your favorite things: camping, cooking (I actually bought you knives for your birthday because you always want to help with kitchen prep), writing letters to pen pals, spending time with friends (which isn't nearly as often as you like - again, third child...sorry!), and hiking (the more remote and treacherous, the better!).
Although you are brave, you are also exceedingly gentle, kind, tender-hearted, and self-sacrificing. Your preference is to simply do your best, without having to step into the spotlight.
This is your last year in single digits. Next year, you will be 10. Run fast and climb high, adventurer. Through it all, my prayer is that you will continue to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and that you will know His love in return. No matter where you go or what you do, you can never outrun His lovingkindness.
Proud of you,