I wish I had started doing birthday blogs before her 4th birthday. Because, let’s face it. There are three years worth of hilarious stories that have gone unwritten. But fortunately, there has been enough recorded to keep us reading and enjoying for years to come.
Every single day Anna Takle makes me laugh. And, who would’ve thought years ago that I would be going to her for fashion advice one day? Seriously. The girl who wore fleece in the summer, tanks in the winter, printed tights with ripped shorts, and dressed like she was trying out for the NBA for a solid year. Even yesterday, she questioned my attire for family pictures.
Anna: “Mom, you wear a cream shirt or sweater EVERY TIME WE TAKE FAMILY PICTURES.”
Me: “Well, dang. I guess I do. Maybe I should change?”
Anna: “Why change it up now? It’s kind of your thing.”
Even though I considered throwing on plaid, because, let’s face it….that’s kind of my thing, too….I just said, “Yeah…it’s kind of my thing.” And, we both smiled and went with it.
She is my girl. My best girl. My best friend. My partner in crime. My tough, stubborn beauty who has evolved into a compassionate, gifted soul, FULL of wisdom and goodness.
And, today, she is 12.
She loves the people in her life fiercely. She is protective, sentimental, and one of the most level-headed people I know. She is also one of the most grateful people I know. She thanks her dad and I ALL THE TIME for EVERYTHING. But, SHE is the real gift.
Anna Marie Takle,
I seriously want to cry thinking about how much I love you. How much I love every single thing about you. You make your dad and I the proudest parents on the face of the earth. Everything you do, you do with passion. You give whatever you commit to 100% of who you are. And, in as much as we are proud of your gifts and of your commitment to your education, we are blown away by WHO you are.
I love the way you love and look after Jett. I remember when you were 6 years old, you said, “Jett is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” You take it upon yourself to care for him, to protect him, to teach him, to love on him. I watch you watch him….and, I see you light up when he does something that makes you proud or when he’s just being his cute little self. And, you smile so big. He is probably the reason why you got the nickname, “Little Momma.” (Clearly, “Big Mama” was already taken.)
But, Jett isn’t the only reason we call you Little Momma. You take it upon yourself to parent ALL of us. And, I mean ALL. Sometimes, it’s really cute. Other times, well….well, just be glad, YOU are really cute. And funny.
I love the way you look out for your big brother. Even though he probably doesn’t know it or want you to necessarily. But, you always want to make sure he is okay. And, when he hangs out with you and talks to you, again, you light up. Because, you love him and care for him so very much.
I love the way you love your dad. I love the way you immediately defend him if you hear me complain about something he forgot to do. Because, not only does he deserve your defense, but you are always so good to right my wrong perspective. And, every time he comes home from a trip and walks through that door, you run to him, wrap your arms around him, and say, “Daddy!” And, again, you light up. Because, you are not afraid to show him your love.
I love the way you love me. Anna, I never doubt how much you love me and look up to me. And, I do not take the love and respect you give me for granted. At least, I hope I don’t. You never fail to come up to me, look me in the eyes, and say, “Mom, thank you so much for……” You never fail to climb into my bed and pour your tender heart out. You never fail to make me feel your love for me. And, you never fail to make ME light up.
I love how important giving sentimental gifts are to you.
I love how you love tiny things.
I love how you love all animals and treat them with care.
I love how you appreciate really good food, good coffee, a good book, and good humor.
I love how you start laughing at your jokes or funny stories before you even begin telling them.
I love how you can laugh at yourself.
I love how you will suggest we eat ice-cream and watch back to back to back episodes of Friends.
I love how you think Phoebe is your spirit-animal.
I love how you want to learn to as many foreign languages as you can and assume it wouldn’t take much planning for us to “hop over to Paris” to try out your progression in French.
I love how when I send you downstairs to do a chore, the chore is always postponed, because you walk past your piano. Yet, you don’t pass it. And, before I know it, I hear magic happening on those keys….and it makes it really hard for me to get upset with you. (Well played, Anna Takle.) Get it? Well played? (That’s one of the corny jokes I know you’ll think is hilarious.)
I love how you ooze out wisdom and always have such perspective on life and relationships. Oh, I listen to you. I listen to you and John Henry both. You both continually make me a better person by how you see people and the world.
Anna, I am so proud of the young lady you are. I can’t imagine what the years ahead look like for you. Because, in this present moment, I am simply in awe.
Thank you, God, for giving me the beautiful gift of Anna Marie. And, let’s just not talk about how she’s going to be a teenager in a year. My heart can’t bear it today.
Thank you, Anna, for being YOU. I love you so very much.