And then she was 7

Dear Audrey,

It’s 5:30am on the morning of your seventh birthday. You, my wild-eyed child, are awake sitting next to me as I immortalize your day with the traditional birthday letter. This is the first year you can read the letter on your own. My how far you have come!

One of my all time favorite photos has to be the one of Sidney and I cuddling on the couch at our old Hickory Valley Drive house. It was just days before you were to make your appearance and my belly was huge with what would prove to be all 9lbs. 1 oz of you. It was the calm before the storm!

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You arrived screaming into the world on January 12, 2007. The whole family was beyond excited to meet you just two years four months after your big sister Sidney had made her presence known.

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We named you Audrey Hope.

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It was a name your Dad and I choose to honor the symbolism of your birth; at a time of great personal turmoil you brought such hope to our lives.

The hope and the joy you brought to our lives that first year and for six more after that has made this family strong and whole.

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Your personality is larger than life. Your energy is contagious.

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From the minute you wake up each morning, to your head hitting the pillow hard at 8:30 each night, you live life to the fullest.

We all could stand to learn a thing or two from the way you choose to approach life. Smile on your face, arms wide open ready to tackle the world and give everyone in your path a healthy dose of the “Hopie charm”.

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Remember your first day of school outfit for the Childhood League Center? The one that at three you picked out all on your own and had such pride wearing it and showing all your new classmates your “style”.

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I could drop in millions of pictures of you and your style over the years (in fact I almost did). But it’s not about the way you look my love. It’s about the personality behind those skirts and dresses and stylish haircuts. You own who you are and your Dad and I could not be more proud of the “who” inside of you.

You are our strong, confident, intelligent, seven-year old.

You are the light of our life and the joy in our days.

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Thank you for letting me be your mommy. It is a privilege that every day I thank God for granting me.

I am looking forward to watching this next year unfold for you. I know it will be a good one, but do me a favor will you? Remember every day that you are loved beyond measure and that no matter what your family (me, dad, Sid and Ellie) will always be here for you no matter where the miles put us.

I love you Audrey Hope Schmaltz. Enjoy your day.

Love,

Your one and only Momma

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