I love that we have a day when we can celebrate you. This last year has had so many moments, big and small, that are worth commemorating. You have taken on many new challenges and risen to the occasion over and over again.
I think sometimes perhaps you feel like you are in Jocelyn's shadow, since as the oldest she gets to do everything "first" but I don't think of it that way. You aren't doing it after her. You are each doing it. In your own ways, and your own times. And it is beautiful to me to see you figure things out, and to learn how to express yourself.
Now that Jocelyn is at work and college, it has been fun to have more time just the two of us. You are now my sole co-op buddy (something Jocelyn never got to do!). You are in my literature class for the first time, too, and I think you secretly like those old books more than you want to admit. You are really getting good at this whole school thing, and it is fun to see you understanding so many new concepts. You are taking so much responsibility for your education, and that is beneficial both now and in the long run.
You are really taking accountability for so many things. You really decided to put in the effort to analyze your basketball performance, and it showed this season. Watching you play was really just *fun*. Seeing you score was thrilling, but really, I love what a good team player and how sportsmanlike you are.
And you are succeeding at other new things, too. Soccer, high school Awana, a new church and youth group. I know you love routine, and continuity, but you have had a good attitude about all these things. You played Hoopfest, and went on your first basketball trip. You've made new friends, something you've always done so well.
But as always, the thing I love the most about you is how you care so well for people. Inclusion is important to you, and hospitality. You make me feel loved by leaving me little notes, and always checking to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. You take care of your dad, preparing all his lunch stuff every night. You love on all the babies in the family, and all the sisters agree you are an excellent babysitter. And there is never any danger that a door will be left unlocked when you're around!
We have reached the part where neither the days nor the years are long anymore. More so even than when you were smaller I wish time would just slow down. It won't though, so I'm giving it my all to try to enjoy these fleeting days. I know it you don't love it when I take photos or make sappy comments, but I'm just trying to remember it all. The eternal tension of parenting is knowing that the future holds so many more wonderful moments, while simultaneously mourning the ones that will never be again. But I wouldn't miss them if they hadn't been so sweet. Thankfully, I think the Lord will graciously give us many more. And because of your faith in Jesus, we are guaranteed eternity! I'm so thankful for you. And I love you. Truly, more than you know.