My Dearest Kate,
Oh my goodness! You're nine!
A bonafide ballet twirling, piano playing, Roald Dahl reading, canvas painting, fruit and veggie eating, bird admiring, advocate for every soul under the sun.
There are no words to say how much I love you and how excited I am for where you are, smack dab in the middle of such a beautiful life.
I can't quite explain it, but from the moment of your birth, you have been elated with the world. Happy to greet everyone you meet with a sense of wonder, purpose, hope, and giddyness for the possibilities that abound. You have served as the inspiration for our family to live in the center of the moment, and to gobble up all of the beauty and joy that God has blessed upon us.
A few weeks ago, we took a family vacation to northern California and you took your iPad primarily to take pictures of everything that made your heart sing. I watched you focus in on seagulls in San Francisco, Redwoods outside of Eureka, ruins in Alcatraz and interesting smiles of passer-byers. You are a natural observer, documenter and lover of the beauty in the world.
It is extraordinary to watch you read voraciously and fall in love with the characters and language as much as I did when I was your age. Consumed in tales like The BFG, Matilda, Harry Potter, Story Thieves, The War that Saved My Life and so many others, it is a delight to compare notes and to watch you write and illustrate your own rags about dragons, heroes and girls who save the day (always, the heroines). And now, you've embarked upon building and painting your own Free Little Library with your dad so that you can share your love of literacy with our neighborhood.
One of my favorite projects you crafted was during the Lenten season when you decided to paint "Rocks for the Poor." You and your sister spent hours finding the perfect stones and then carefully adorning them with color and symbols in the hopes that people would buy them as desk decoration. In turn, you took the money and gave it to those in need because according to you, "We have so much and it's not right that others have so little."
In the fall, you are headed into fourth grade, a time that I vividly remember. So, as you embark upon your ninth year, I want to leave you with this... the greatest gift that you can give to another is kindness and you are filled to the brim with it. Let it pour out of you and shower upon the new girl you meet in class, the one who stumbles on the street, the friend who's not quite sure that they're doing it right, the stranger in the store or on the playground. Because while we live in a country that seems to be monetarily wealthy, we are vastly deficient in our ability to love one another for exactly who we are without judgement or fear.
Try not to be afraid. Be wild, free and alive. Every moment is a new opportunity to feel, to believe, to try again, to experience all that this crazy time and space has to offer. Never doubt that you are both able and extraordinary beyond all measure. You have the power and the fortitude to do so, so very much. But it's more fun and vastly more enjoyable when you take a friend along the journey. Share your success. Be humble in your winnings. And know that all goodness and grace comes from God.
Forgive me if this is how I see you...
I'm not sure how we got to here...
But I do know that I'll always be right here, cheering you on as you explore, wonder, hope, imagine
and create a more beautiful and loving world.
To the moon and back, sunshine...
Happy Birthday, Kate....
Love always, Mama