my hair and suck her thumb, in order to be calmed from the chaos.I sat beside her this time, rather than having her seated in my lap. This time, as she opened each gift she shared the contents with her friends, rather than looking to me and saying, "oooo mommy". She called after this friend and that when needing a thing or two, rather than calling out, even shouting, "MOOOOOOOMMYYYYYY". She looked to me a time or two when overwhelmed with the thirteenth birthday party commotion, whereas during her first, she needed held so she could play with my hair and suck her thumb, in order to be calmed from the chaos.
My baby girl is growing up. She will soon be a teenager - although we celebrated this weekend. I knew this day was coming, but I didn't expect it to affect me as it has. I'm not sad and I'm not emotional, I simply keep playing the past thirteen years, like a picture video in my mind.
Her personality is the same as it was when she was two - loud, boisterous, an infectious laughter and a confidence I never really knew from where it came. Little noises she makes when pretending to be a teradactel, the dance she does when she gets excited, the passion she exudes in everything that means something to her. All still there.
And I am grateful. I am grateful because she has chosen to surround herself by friends who not only accept her the way she is, but they LOVE her the way she is. They laugh at the things I have laughed at for years, they aren't put off by her confidence, they are amused by her little noises. From what I witnessed this weekend, they love her, because she loves them. She genuinely cares for them. This makes me incredibly proud.
As a mother, my prayers is always that both my daughters will grow up loving God and loving others. Not only does my new teenager pray for me when I am down or ill, she prays for those she cares about and asks for prayer when she herself is down. This weekend I witnessed her friends doing the same for her, without shame. I witnessed girls respecting what their friends were not willing to participate in, rather peer pressure one another to compromise. I overheard stories of encouragement and support for others, as well as difficult conversations about past hurts.
The reality became very real this weekend - my daughter is becoming a young woman who will soon face challenges. Regardless of those challenges, she is poised to grow strong. As she continues to grow in Christ, surround herself by those who also love God and love others, and especially accept and love her as she is, my heart is peaceful. Peaceful because God is answering my prayers and letting me know He has her in the palm of His hand, looking after her as He looks after me.
My prayer is that for the next five years, as we approach the days when she will take her own leap into the world as an adult, I will continue to point her to loving God and loving others.
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