Dear Madeleine Noelle,
Six years ago, we welcomed you into the world: a round, soft, beautiful, snuggly, calm and most lovely baby girl of eight pounds and four ounces. You were the most amazing thing I'd ever laid eyes on. For years and years I had longed to be a Mama, and that day is one I will never, ever forget. When you made me a Mama, my heart grew within my chest. I'd never known such a tenderness, nor such a fierce protective love.
And now, look at you:
Radiant. Confident. Lovely. Funny. Witty. Generous. Gracious. Compassionate. Quick to forgive. Athletic. Determined. Intelligent. Pure joy.
At Chrismastime, you got on the stage (hearth) at Grammy & Papa's to sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and I thought my heart might beat out of my chest; such a sweet, pure tone and with a twinkle in your eye, you had us all wrapped around your little finger.
Up on the mountain is where we got to see your confidence and athleticism shine. Where at one point you were hesitant, you no longer pause before trying things out. With tubing, you hopped right on and took on the first hill all by yourself, laughing and smiling the whole way. You hiked up that hill over and over, hardly pausing for a breath, delighting your Daddy with your positive attitude. And then on the ski hill! He took you up for your first-ever day on the slopes, a perfectly clear day on Mt. Hood, thinking you'd last a few hours. Boy, did you surprise him when you wanted to ski the whole day! It will definitely go down as one of your Daddy's favorite memories of the year, getting to ski with his best girl.
And just a week later, we were at the beach. You got to enjoy splashing in the waves with your very best friend, a special time that you both needed so much. Different schools this year has meant we don't get to see Nicole nearly as often, but seeing the two of you side by side reminded me that there are ties that go deep. You said it best, "Nicole was my very first friend. We've been friends since we were babies! She'll always have a special place in my heart."
The past six years have been a lot of work, for sure. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But now, I see all of that hard work and discipline coming together in the most beautiful ways. Your truest self shines so brightly these days, and you are so wonderful. Your love for others amazes me. The prayers that you pray with faith and boldness encourage me to pray with greater faith. How quickly you forgive, how gracious you are to your brother, it astounds me. I see the love of Jesus so clearly in you. I am so grateful that God gave me such a lovely, beautiful daughter to share life with. You are a blessing and an encouragement! Happy 6th Birthday, my love!