Sixteen. SIXTEEN. I still remember the first birthday blog I ever wrote for you. I titled it “Supergirl Turns 4.” (Take a flashback here.) You were Supergirl for Halloween two straight years in a row. You didn’t care. You knew what you wanted and who you wanted to be. I went back to that blog of your Supergirl days where I wrote 4 reasons why I love you. I still love you for those exact same reasons. Of course, I could list a million more. But, let’s go back to where we started. November 2008, I wrote:
1. She is
2. She is ONE.SMART.COOKIE. Sight words at 3? Easy fa sheezy.
3. FUN-NEE. She makes me laugh until I cry. Or almost pee in my pants. Wait a minute, is that just because I’m getting old?
4. She turns my face to hers with her sweet little hands and tells me she loves me.
So, what has changed? Certainly not these four things. They’ve just taken different shapes and forms.
You are still so very persistent. I won’t say stubborn anymore. You’re persistent. You’re strong. You stand by what you feel and want. You stand strong on what you believe is right. You keep pressing until you knock down the necessary walls to grab hold of what you’re reaching for and believe in…..or until you see that thing differently and realize it isn’t truth or it just isn’t for you. You don’t hide your eyes from truth or shut your heart from receiving when you’re wrong. I’ve watched you press and press until you get it. I’ve watched you work so very hard and practice and study and work to achieve. But, I’ve also experienced first hand watching you pause and listen and rethink that thing that seems so important at the time.
Anna, you are so open to the Spirit to receive truth. You are so open to the people around you that you trust to receive and hear. And, as impressive as your persistence in life is, your ability and heart to listen and grow is what is most impressive. Not only is it impressive, it always inspires me. To listen. To pause. To receive. To grow. THIS is what will always make your path easier and better. It won’t always be easy. Don’t get me wrong. But, it can be EASIER when we open our hearts to hear. YOU DO THIS SO WELL.
You are still one smart cookie. Mercy. I wish I could take credit for those Math skills. I do. But, we both know I can’t. It’s all you, Anna Takle. You’re ability to learn and understand and reason and deduct and analyze….man. What a gift you have that you continue to sharpen. Don’t take it for granted. Be thankful for it. And, help others. Thank you for helping your little brother. You are such a GOOD and PATIENT teacher.
You are still FUN-NEE. Seriously. You make me laugh all of the time. Your “Jeff From the Australian Outback” videos will forever be my favorite. I wanted to post one of these, but I didn’t. You’re welcome. But, if I can, let me know, okay?
Okay. So, you don’t turn my face to you anymore. (You still can if you wanna.) But, you still tell me you love me. You are never afraid to articulate your feelings and express your love. You aren’t afraid to say, “I need a hug.” You aren’t afraid to tell the people in your life that you love them and why you love them. The way you express your love for me and your dad is such a beautiful sustainer for us. It’s such gift. I know it’s a gift to all of those close to you.
So not much as changed in these things since you were four. These things have just evolved and become so much more.
Anna Marie, YOU keep evolving and growing and blowing my mind. I am so very proud of the woman you are. I know this might feel like a hard season. Sometimes there are hard seasons in life. And, sometimes there are just hard moments. You’ll learn the difference….usually after you’re through it. This time? I believe it’s a moment. It’s just a moment in time. I know no one else reading this understands this but you, and that’s okay. But, sister, it’s a moment. And, this moment will not define you. YOU will define it. I know this.
Your greatest days are ahead of you.
I love you, Anna Takle.
I love how you know exactly what you want to eat.
I love how you really love your big brother and look up to him.
I love how you say, “Awwww” when Jett does or says something really cute.
I love how you love and appreciate the relationship your dad and I have together.
I love how excited you get over learning a new piano piece and want to listen to someone else play those pieces in the car.
I love how you love your friends.
I love how quick your wit is.
I love your Australian accent.
I love how you love your “dream dog.”
I love how you’re not afraid to drive your dad’s boat and how you can dock it like a beast.
I love your love for travel and seeing new places. Especially with your dad.
I love how brave and independent you are.
I love how you look to my best friends as your best friends.
I love how you defend and love the marginalized.
I love how you challenge all of us to rethink hard things.
I love your heart. Your sweet, sincere heart.
There is nothing that could ever make me not love you. Or not believe in you. Or make me doubt how insanely beautiful the future is for you.
There is no girl I love more than you. There is no girl I love driving around more than you. I’m going to miss having you in my right seat telling me all the things on your mind. So, I’m going to soak up these days ahead until you drive off without me. And, when you do, come to my room and tell me all things on your mind.
Your mind is my favorite.
You are my favorite.
Happy 16th Birthday, Anna Banana.
I love you more than you will ever know.