My darling girl,

Today you are seven.

I looked at a side by side comparison today of the pictures I always take on your birthday of our two hands.  It took my breath away to see how much of my hand was covered by yours.

I look back on that first picture…the chubby baby fat wrists.  The teeny fingers.  The fact that I had to hold my other hand on your arm just to get you to be still long enough to take the picture.  My heart skips a little.

I know you don’t  understand why I sometimes have a hard time seeing you as the big girl you are.  What you don’t realize, and you won’t fully until you have one of your own, is this:  When you were placed in my arms that first time, that glorious June day when we finally met face to face, you were helpless.  You could not speak, you could not walk or crawl, you could not feed yourself, or even turn over in your bed.  It is often said that our minds freeze people in age as they were on the day we met.  So sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes I still see my helpless sweet baby.

I forget that you, at seven, can do so much.  You tie your own shoes, make your own bed, help with chores around the house and every so often, do something amazing, like make me breakfast in bed.  Just because.

There aren’t words to describe how I burst with joy and pride when I look at you.  This year has been something of a turning point for you and you have blossomed in such awesome ways.  I see more confidence in you than you have ever possessed and it makes me so happy for you.  Life is so much easier when you’re not the shy kid always afraid to speak out.

You took gymnastics this year and I don’t think you’ve ever been more excited about doing something.  I was so proud of you when you got up at that last meeting, and with all eyes on you, hopped on the uneven bars and showed off what you’d learned.  It took everything I had not to jump up out of my seat and cheer for you.

You got to go camping and spent a little over 3 days in the country, with no TV, no iPod, iPhone or anything else electronic.  You had such a great time, playing baseball, and riding your bike and even learning to fish!  The country girl in me was so happy to see you enjoying that life so much.

I love how you are equal parts girly girl and tomboy.  You love to paint your nails and get your hair all done up, but yet you love sports and are never afraid to go outside and get dirty.

You are hands down the funniest person I know.  Sometimes even intentionally.  🙂  You will make up jokes and laugh like a maniac at your own wit.

It amazes me daily how alike we are.  Which for us is definitely a double edged sword. It causes us to butt heads frequently but is also a blessing in many ways, since I can usually figure out what’s going on in that head of yours.

Your spirit is so sweet and beautiful.  I always say I take very little credit for you, because you just are who you are and you have been this way always. You can be a typical kid, but more often than not you think of others and hate to let anyone down.

The thing I most admire about you is how you rarely let anything get you down.  You rarely complain.  Even when you broke your arm on the 3rd day of first grade, your teacher was amazed at how positive your attitude was.

You are my greatest joy, my most blessed gift.  You make me want to be a better person every single day.  Being your mom is the best job in the world, and you make it so easy.

Happy birthday, Avacakes.

I love you to the moon and back.