My girl is 18. A fully grown, beautiful, smart, capable adult. I knew it would get here quickly. My friends who were ahead of me in parenting warned me so. I only half-way grasped it until we reached those high school years. Then, I knew it was certain….time was closing in.
I have enjoyed every season of life with you, Anna. Were their challenges with my strong-willed, force to be reckoned with little girl? Most certainly. But, the days were filled with more than just those challenges. They were filled with hilarious and precious moments, too. And, I miss those days so very much. If I could pick a day to experience again, it wouldn’t be some glamorous, life-altering kind of day. It would be a very ordinary day. One when it was just you and me and little baby Jenny that went everywhere with you.
We had to buckle in her in the car every trip. HAD TO. All hell would break loose if Jenny wasn’t buckled in.
I think your dad was more afraid of your demands than me. Which is really funny to me now knowing the kind of teenage parent he’s been. He’s never been afraid of his teenage children. But he was definitely a little afraid of 4 year old Anna. I’m not sure he’d admit it though.
But, I would go back to an ordinary day with you. Where I would take you to gymnastics and then we would go eat lunch together with baby Jenny in tow. I would sit across from your sweet and proud face. And, I would stare at you a little longer. I would ask you more questions. I would linger at that table for as long as I possibly could.
I would soak in so much more than I did back then.
I would soak in as much as I soak in now.
What a joy it is to know you, Anna Takle. What an absolute honor it is to call you my girl. My daughter. My amazing, kind and beautiful daughter. I told you yesterday that I don’t know another person who allows the Holy Spirit to lead them the way you do. As intentionally and passionately as you do. And, the fruit of that is so very real and good. You hear things and see things that can only come from your willingness to listen to Him. And, those things are always, ALWAYS, to make the lives around you better. I know He speaks directly to you for you. But, most of the time you open yourself up to hear for someone else. So you can encourage them and make THEIR life better.
It’s your 18 year old, final birthday blog. (Don’t worry. I’ll still you write you letters every once in a while.) So, here are 18 things I absolutely adore about you.
I love how you honor people. You are so gracious with people and intentional to give them your full attention.
I love how you love good food and recognize it as a delight that brings people together.
I love how you can literally put your phone down for hours and not pick it up. You’ll spend that time watching How I Met Your Mother or drinking tea and journaling or taking a long shower and just relaxing or you’ll spend it catching up with your dad and me.
I love how you create space and time to read, to pray, and to listen.
I love how you get in the floor with Paxton and let him be the big baby he is. And, how you let him minister to your soul when you’re tired.
I love how you love and admire your piano teacher, Mrs. Kitty. I love how she’s always one of the people you’re most thankful for. I love this not only because, I love her, too. But because, you recognize the gift she’s given you in music. A place to go to where you can heal, release stress, and just simply be.
I love how you are able to see through people when they are hurtful or mean or angry. You always see them as hurting. I’ll never forget you telling me about one situation where you had been hurt but still insisted on being kind: “Mom, everyone deserves to know how much Jesus loves them.” And, you took it upon yourself to be the one who showed them.
I love how determined you are to give up gluten until you see the most magnificent, gluten-filled dessert. Or ballpark hotdog.
I love how whatever you set your mind to accomplish, you do it. This also scares me to death sometimes.
I love how committed you are to school and how much you really love to learn.
I love how you love and respect your teachers. I especially love how truly thankful you are for them. This is not always the norm.
I love how the same things spiritually get to us. Whether we are listening to GaGa preach and we are both like, “Wowwww.” Or how when we watch The Chosen together and the same moment brings us to tears. You don’t know what it means to be able have those revelations WITH you.
I love how you see all sides to a situation. You never write off someone, because they believe differently than you. You allow people the space to be who they are while still loving who they are. This is a gift.
I love how you laugh at me and think I’m funny. You know I need that kind of validation in my life.
I love how supportive you are of John, and how you pray for him and want the very best for him.
I love how proud you are that Jett is your little brother. I love that you appreciate his humor and how you cry when you think about leaving him next year.
I love how your best friends range in age from 15 to 85.
I love how you adore your father. You always seem to know when needs encouragement and give it to him so perfectly.
I love YOU, Anna Takle. I would relive every single day with you over and over again. I was born to be your mom. I couldn’t have dreamed a better life than the one I have been given with you.
Your words are always a salve to the soul.
Your presence brings peace to every moment.
Your humility reminds me of why we are here….to love well. To serve as many as we can. And, to give all we have.
Happy 18th Birthday, Anna Marie. I will never not be amazed by you.
I love you. You are forever my girl.
Also, a throwback to the pic I posted on your first ever birthday blog: