You were born at 8:30pm on a mid-March eve two weeks before your official due date. The birth could be described in contrasting terms - it was both fast and furious AND overwhelmingly peaceful. When Tim leaned down to catch you and then passed you tenderly into my arms, I was mesmerized by how perfectly calm and sweet you were. After the tumult of the delivery, you were the gentle result. I've always told people that the transition from one to two children was the easiest. You made it so.
As you grew, you were a spitfire in the best possible way. You were kind and sweet, while also being simultaneously independent and full of gumption. Even as a little girl, you rarely did something just because someone else was doing it. Your interests were all your own. If you liked astronauts or otters or poetry, you didn't wait for the approval of others. You just followed your dreams with gusto.
A natural born leader, you have always been a people magnet - welcoming people in with your smile, your knack for conversation, and your sincere humility. Even now, at fourteen, you make friends everywhere you go. Camps, classes, sports - you almost always jump into the car and say, "I made a friend."
As a rising freshman, you are an A student with a love of learning - but not in a snobbish way. You just really like to learn, to debate, to have logical discussions, to read (stacks and stacks of books!), and to write.
Last year, as an 8th grader, you played every sport offered at your school (volleyball, soccer, and basketball) plus tied for 1st place at the school 5k in your age bracket. You're fast, aggressive, competitive, and determined - which makes you a valuable player on the team. But what makes us most proud is the way you carry yourself on every field and court - calling out encouraging words, running up to high-five and hug friends, and showing concern for injured players - regardless of which team they are on.
Although you love athletics and you give 100% when you play team sports, your favorite hobbies are in the performing arts realm - music, drama, and dance. You sing everywhere - in the car, in your room, in the yard, on the worship team at church, any and every single chance you get. You also love playing the guitar and acting out scenes from favorite novels in full costume. When you performed in The Hobbit this past winter, you were a vision as a lady elf warrior and you loved every single second on stage (your only regret was that there were not more of them).
On top of these many gifts, you are also a gifted artist and calligrapher. You fill sketch pads with carefully completed drawings, which are never quite happy with. When you write notes (something you frequently do), you use calligraphy so lovely that it could land you a job someday. Your school notebooks are filled with drawings, which are too pretty to be called doodles, and colorfully coordinated notes.
Fire and ice. Sugar and spice. With each new day, you are becoming more beautiful and growing in maturity and grace. I know the day is coming soon when you will be "driving a truck and wearing sunglasses" so I am savoring every day.
Happy Birthday, O. You're going places. Today is your day.
* I write letters to each of my children on their birthdays so that they will remember and I won’t forget. As Sheldon Vanauken so aptly put it, “Writing has something of the timeless about it – a breath of eternity.”