We welcomed our second roommate nine years ago yesterday. It is amazing how fast nine years can zoom by...I am always worried about whether I am making the most of the time I have with my girls. I know that I fail often...always getting lost in the urgent over the important. One of life's toughest battles. Maybe that is one of the purposes of birthday commemorations...to remind us how fast time flies so that we can get back on track with the important. At age 9, it is entirely possible that she has hit that halfway mark of living at home with us. I may have used up half of my time with her already. My worry for obstacles she will face escalates. My excitement as she pursues God's plan for her life multiplies. The emotions of being a parent.
Please indulge me while I mark her ninth birthday by sharing some of the things that make her special.
While pregnant with Rachael, I was sick until I reached the 18 week mark. Until that point, the only thing that regularly sounded good to me was a chili cheese burrito from Taco Bell. Jeff wanted me to eat so badly, it was not unusual for him to get me one on our way to some place and then get me another one on the way home. It's funny to me now, because I would not consider her as high of maintenance as her early influences on my life would indicate.
While we were very nervous parents at the birth of our first daughter, we experienced calmness when Rachael was born. We knew by this point that we could at least get this new little life to the age of 28 months (her sister's age when Rachael was born). We would survive. And she was such a pleasant baby...just as she is now.
Rachael is very creative and imaginative (is that redundant?). Probably since the age of 3, when she gained access to scissors, she has made abstract shapes from paper, decorating them to be the characters of the scripts playing in her head. She is our own little Aerial (from "The Little Mermaid")...always attracted to little treasures, whether it was a tag found on the floor at a store or a cool rock. Cleaning her room always yields surprises. That creativity continues today...she recently won two Grand Champion designations, a First Place ribbon and the Overall Grand Champion award for our homeschool group's art fair.
She has a wonderful...subtle...sense of humor. Last summer, while camping, she was drying the breakfast dishes for me. She accidentally dropped a plate. Dirt clung to the spots that were still wet. She looked at me and calmly said "You missed a spot". She makes me laugh often.
She is our girly one. She notices outfits...loves accessories...plans what she will wear for special events. And while she does care, she is not hard to please. I will say she has nothing to wear before she will. She loves makeup (she would wear it now, if she were allowed)...having her nails painted. She looks forward to having her hair "tie-dyed" -- I do worry about what that means exactly, but I think she just means highlighted or colored.
She's not afraid of athletic activity...she will go along with the plan. But she knows what she likes and doesn't like. For example, after completing her first year of soccer... which she attended and participated in with a wonderful attitude...she informed us that "one medal was enough" after receiving her year-end award. On another occasion, she told me that she didn't care for gym class because it made her sweat.
She is becoming more and more theatrical...impersonating others...participating in our homeschool group's musical production...pretending to be movie stars with her friends when I drive them.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I often worry whether I am living up to God's expectations of my role as a mom to these three special girls. Last summer, Rachael did give me some reassurance. We were sitting on the beach at Lake Huron. Rachael was picking at a scab on her knee. I told her she should leave it alone because scarred legs would ruin her future of being a runway model (something that would not surprise me). She looked at me seriously and said "I don't want to be a model. I want to be a mom."
Happy Birthday, Rachael! While your birthday is special, I celebrate every day with you. I love you and I thank you for making me want to be a better me.