To my sweet little girl who is nine years old today. You are a very bubbly, smart, talented and beautiful girl. I am very proud to be your dad. It hit me as one busy day blends into another that I tend to just “live in the moment.” While doing so, what struck me is that you are going from five to nine in a single birthday. At least it seems that way.
A far sobering realization is nine years from now you will be departing on your own journey through life, whether it be for college or whatever path God leads you on. When you ultimately leave to that new chapter, your joyous laughter and sweet voice that once filled our house will be but a cherished memory. I am finding dad is not even close to trying to come to grips with that reality. But, that is part of being a parent and a part of the life journey. Dad will just need to deal with it and support you as you live out your dreams. I’m trying my hardest to hold the clock arms back, but unfortunately I can’t. Time is moving so much faster these days and my little girl is growing up.
I remember the day you were born. You had the perfect little angelic face. I loved holding you when you were a baby. Letting you gnaw on my finger when you were teething. No matter how busy I was, if you came toddling over wanting to be picked up, I gladly welcomed the privilege. It was true joy. Mr. Rogers was one of the first shows you enjoyed watching. I always watched them with you. I always loved my “Ella shows” whether it’d be Barney, Littlest Pet Shop or Johnny Test amongst the many. I still recall when you were about three years old, I came home from work, and as was my tradition, before coming into the house, I would check on the garden. As I was walking down the hill, there you were running down the hill to meet me with a joyous look on your face that I was home.
Your love of dogs is contagious. Once a teacher asked you, “Ella, if you got three wishes, what would they be?” And you answered, “Three dogs.” Of course, our time in the kitchen and out in the garden planting seeds holds special memories. That extra, extra large tomato that I picked that was hiding behind a lot of tomato leaves is one. You carried that one around for around 20 minutes. I can never forget the many Wacky Chocolate cakes we made or other recipes that you picked out. Hopefully, we can make many more in the next nine years.
You have done so many things that have made us proud. I remember your first goal in kindergarten soccer. I remember all the times you beat me at soccer in the basement with the stuffed soccer ball. No doubt, did I know that you would play well at the real thing. You scored on every team you have played on, including your first year on the 3rd through 5th grade team. I wouldn’t miss one of your games for anything. You are naturally gifted at sports, do well in school, a very loyal friend, have a beautiful singing voice, very courageous and willing to try new things.
When our family was struggling with some turbulence, you showed a maturity beyond your years. You were very brave. You had to deal with a lot of trying changes in your life some of them difficult. I could see a very strong little girl emerging. But, I could also see a young girl who may have needed to grow up a little too soon. Thankfully, things have settled down and hopefully those things will be but a forgotten memory.
We know in the next nine years, the teenage years are coming up, high school, driving lessons, perhaps sports, that first job, and, gulp, dating. Of course, there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way, challenges to face and things to overcome. But, God gave us a beautiful life when He blessed us with you. I pray that your faith grow stronger over these next nine years before you go out into the real world. Always make God number one and you will discover the real meaning of life. Never stop seeking. We are looking forward to the next chapters and watching you blossom into the woman God meant you to be. I love you and you have been a true joy to us.