It was 16 years ago today that Kevin and I sat at Olive Garden at Rivergate celebrating Mother's Day with family. Waiting back at home was a little gift from him sitting on the counter waiting for me to open the following morning. Mother's Day. We thought I had several more days to officially become a mother, so he had purchased a sweet little mom-to-be gift of my favorite Bath & Body works lotion. As we sat there eating, I was uncomfortable and miserable. The OB appointment the day before had been disappointing to me because she said that it looked as if it would still be several more days or longer. I thought my stomach was just revolting from indulging in my favorite pasta and breadsticks. Kevin rubbed my back all through lunch because it was hurting consistently. Little did I know, I was actually in labor then. We went home, watched Lion King with Kevin's sons on a mattress on the floor---but it only would take another hour or so to realize we should have not come home. We were soon calling Kevin's mother to come stay with the boys until the morning because there was no doubt it was time to turn around and head back. (Our hospital was over an hour's drive!)
It ended up that Kevin's little mom-to-be gift for Mother's Day ended up being an actual congratulations "you're now a mom" gift. Our first child, our princess, decided that she would be an extra blessing and was born on Mother's Day.
Carrying on my step-mom's name in a different form. (Pa Brown: Coley, Teresa: Coleen, Matt: Cole).
Tomorrow, she turns 16.
Yes, I've been a basket case about that. Though not nearly as much as I though I would be. It DOES shock me with how quickly time has gone by. It DOES make me ache knowing that she will be moving on with her life in new directions VERY soon. Goodness gracious, if plans continue as she hopes and God provides, that direction may very well be Africa.
As much as any mother aches knowing their babies have grown up, I do have those moments of disbelief. Yet, I'm confident. She's God's girl. She's His.
This little princess was beautiful from the beginning....
Though tomorrow is her Sweet 16, she has more wisdom and maturity than many women twice her age.
She has a passion for service and missions that you just don't see often in a younger individual. There will be NO stopping her. She is CONSTANTLY giving of herself in creative ways to raise money or awareness for things she is passionate about (adoption, orphans, hunger, etc...)
She has a LOVE for babies that is just indescribable unless you've witnessed it first hand. If you have, you know that it's a true gift.
God lives in her and He pours out every pore in her body. You can't be around her for any amount of time without recognizing that special radiating glow.
At this point in life, she still has no interest in dating or boys in general. I'm sure someday that is going to change and let me just say, we have been praying for that young man for many years. He will be getting a diamond for sure. (As long as he can handle her stubbornness that came honestly!)
She is creative....oh so very creative! She's been running her own online business of crafts (hairbows, baby gear, etc...) for over a year. She often has booths at craft fairs. All on her own.
She's a HUGE help at home (when she's not fighting with or bossing her brothers!).
She has embraced home education from the beginning and even when given the option of a more traditional education, she still adamantly wants to continue the path we began in Kindergarten. She finished her Sophomore year two months ahead of schedule, even though that included tough subjects like Algebra 2 and World History. Neither of which were her strong suits in the beginning. She persevered and didn't give up. That's who she is.
She works constantly. She has learned the value of money. If you know her well, you know that she has learned the value of living frugally....perhaps a little too well. Have you ever witnessed her shopping with a stack of coupons and REFUSING to allow anyone to purchase anything without first checking to see if a better deal is available? Let me tell you, shopping with her is an experience. It doesn't matter if it's her earned money or money that belongs to someone else. I can't even pull in a gas station without her first checking gas buddy. We can't buy anything without her first seeing if it's something we can make or repair ourselves.
I am thankful for the blessing she is to our family. Though she can struggle with attitude issues or not wanting to finish things she starts at times, gets bogged down when her tender heart gets easily stepped on....she's a gift to us. My heart hurts with listening to other parents describe their children and how they can't wait until they no longer have to "parent". We, on the other hand, consider it an HONOR to be given the job as parents. It's something that we value and hold dear. A calling we don't take lightly.
She was a tiny little miss. Though she was 7 pounds 6 ounces at birth, she was over a year old before she even doubled that weight. At a year old she was only a whopping 13 pounds and was wearing 3-6 months in clothing. She was walking before 8 months and NEVER slowed down. She finally broke the 20 pound mark at 2 years old. We joked that she would have to use her booster seat to learn to drive. She finally did grow enough that the booster seat isn't necessary, but oh goodness....every single time I get back in the van to drive after her...I hit my head because she NEVER puts my seat back. I don't worry about her driving because I know she's been taught VERY well (not by me!) and has a good head on her shoulders. She'll be able to get her license at the end of June. We weren't aware of the differences in TN and IL laws and waited too long in getting her permit for her to be able to get her license this week.
She was tiny, but oh so mighty.
It didn't take us long to realize that not only was she a tiny little mighty mouse, she was going to be mighty for God!
For several years, she was passionate about flipping over anything and everything. The balance beam was her "thing" and her "place." Her first ultrasounds had the doctor and technicians talking about how much she literally liked to flip. Little did they know, she'd be flipping through our hearts in such powerful ways!
(just a few of some of my favorite pictures of her...)
And finally.....something special that my sister made for a gift to Adriana....and it very much exemplifies who she is.....