Syd at 13

Dear Syd,

I love you but I don’t get to claim you.

You don’t come from my gene pool.

I don’t know what your cry sounded like at birth or what your favorite baby food was.

I missed first steps, first days of school and five hundred other firsts, but I am grateful that I get to be here today.

Watching you transform into this confident, funny and thoughtful young lady is one of the greatest gifts of my life. I can’t take credit for a single second of who you are becoming, but I get the profound privaledge of watching life unfold for you.

I know sometimes our relationship must feel awkward. I am this woman that walked into your world at 10 and upended life as you knew it.

Thank you for forgiving me for my failings. For understanding when I don’t say the right things or how I sometimes serve raw meat for dinner. Thank you for teaching me that love comes at different times and in many different packages.

I am so happy we get to do life together.

For your thirteenth year I wish for you more late nights laughing with your sisters, more inside jokes and crushes on boys, more stargazing, more growing in grace, more tiaras, more tutus and less worrying about what others may be thinking of you.

I get prouder of you with every passing year.

Happy birthday beautiful girl. I love you more then words can say.

Love,

H.

Momma.

P.S. Can I say I am patting myself on the back with this year’s pick? Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thirteen

January 12, 2020

 

Dear Audrey Hope,

It was just last month when I realized you had made that transition from girl to young woman. We were waiting for you to perform at your recital. I caught you in your chair taking deep breathes. I assumed your were nervous. When I asked you got a silly smile on your face and told me you were doing the breathing exercises your teacher had taught you. Then you walked up front, played your guitar and belted out your song. Your confidence in your craft was impressive, but more than that it was your independence. You had this. Why would I doubt?

So today beautiful girl you turn thirteen and I can’t but help remember the baby you were. Your Papi said you looked like a cabbage patch doll and with the round face and big blue eyes you really did.

You’ve been a gift from the moment your graced our world. You have always been easygoing.

You roll with the punches and you teach your rigid Momma to do the same.

Your world is big and your heart is even bigger.

Thank you for loving all of us so effortlessly.

The way you reach out to cuddle and care even when we are at our prickliest, is pretty special.

This year will hold great things for you, I just know it.

Keep in mind I am along for the ride. There will be more date nights, conversations about good books and dance parties in the kitchen.

I love you baby girl.

I am so proud to be your Momma.

Happy 13!

Love,

Momma

PS- In appreciation for both the words and the talent behind the guitar, it had to be Cat Stevens for this year’s birthday song.

 

Ellery Jane at 9

September 24, 2019

Dear Ellery Jane,

It seems as if nine is upon us.

As I sit, caught off guard by the passage of time, I think about the beautiful girl you are becoming.

Day turning into day, finding myself wishing I had hit record on the thoughtful words you fill our hours with. Today you inquired as to when I thought we had become so close? When had you and I developed this bond? I told you of how we were knitted together before God placed you in my belly.

You my darling child are bold. You are strong. You are a leader.

You are persistent and you are just as much grit as you are grace.

I am most excited to see where these next years take you.

I have now doubt you could become a teacher or an astronaut or our President.

Do me a favor will you? Keep talking to me. Keep telling me where you hide the hurts.

I promise to keep loving on you. I’ll make sure to make those silly faces at school drop off and always hold my arms wide open when I pick you up each afternoon.

Don’t stop dancing and dreaming and doing everything that makes you uniquely Ellery Jane.

I love you to the moon and back.

Your one and only Momma

PS – We’re going to be alright, odds are.

 

 

 

 

Sydney at 12

Dear Sydney,

I wish you were reading this on your birthday!

With the busyness of April and May, the days slipped away and almost a full month later you finally get to read my birthday mushiness. I’m sorry for the lateness kiddo. I promise I will do better next year.

You’re simply the best bonus daughter a step-momma could ask for.

Loving, kind, patient, hardworking, dedicated, funny and pretty darn smart.

Being a part of this loud, opinionated family can certainly challenge one’s patience yet your  approach is always level-headed.

The back and forth between homes with it’s changing rules and shifting boundries could be a struggle for anyone and you navigate it all with an unending reserve of grace.

Your ability to embrace my extended family has left me teary eyed. 

I am easily filled with hope for our tribe of eight when you are around.

Thank you Sydney Rae for allowing me to play a small role in your life.

I’m always here should you need a Starbucks run or a dance party in the kitchen.

Happiest of birthday’s my love!

H

 

PS-

This may just be the most perfect birthday song ever. I hope you get what I am saying with this pick.

 

 

 

 

Audrey at 12

Dear Audrey Hope,

You are bold. You are brave. You are incredibly beautiful.

You tell stories, weaving words together and turning the mundane into magic.

When people come into your presence, they most immediately feel loved.

And that smile! It simply lights up our lives.This birthday feels different, a bit of nostalgia mixed in with the moment. The threshold of the teenage years crossed, earning more of your independence with each passing day.I want to keep you close, to protect you from the ugly this world can throw. But, in doing so, it would also hold you back from the joy that comes after the ache.

I am so very proud of you.

I know you will make good decisions.

Never doubt how much you are loved and how uniquely and wonderfully made you are.

I believe in you.

Love,

Momma

P.S.- This years birthday song says it better than I ever could

 

 

 

 

8

Dear Ellery Jane,

It started here.

You as the exclamation point at the end of my sentence.

Full of sass from the start.

Never one to shy away from your feelings you brought me to my transparency.

How have these years gone so swiftly by?

I can hardly breathe thinking of the moments that have made up these days.

My how well you have lived my girl.

Continue to be bold dear child.

Hold fast to your compass, your God.

Let me push you when it is necessary.

The days ahead will include moments of you doing the same for me.

Blessing upon blessing.

I can’t possibly put into words the joy it is to be your Momma, so instead this year I will let the pictures speak the words I cannot.

I’m here sweet, beautiful, sensitive, soulful girl.

We will dance together in the morning and I will watch you twirl your way into a new year.

Happy eight.

It only gets better from here.

I love you to the moon and back,

Momma

P.S. It couldn’t have been anything else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday letter #1

Dear Sydney,

You are 11!

This year has been a joy. I’ve enjoyed every second, learning about who you are, what makes you tick.

The learning isn’t over. We get to spend the rest of our lives figuring each other out.

What I have discovered is that you are one hardworking, young woman.

Your dedication to schoolwork is incredible.

You have boundless energy. How do you manage to spend hours jumping on the trampoline after school and never get tired?

You’re motivated to try new things and you have a bit of wanderlust. I can’t wait to share that with you. There are places I want you to see and places I want us to discover as a family.

I love how you always offer to do Zoey’s hair in the morning,

the way you appreciate order,

how you put up with my stories,

and your newfound love of Kevin Henkes books.

But mostly I just love having this front row seat, watching you grow.

Thanks for hanging out with me this year, for putting up with me through all the transitions of the last 12 months and for making your daddy who he is today. No doubt Syd, you as the first-born played a special part in making him the man he is.

I love you so much.

I look forward to your new year.

Happiest of birthday’s beautiful girl.

Love,

Heather

P.S. of course you get your own birthday song. I promise I’m not going anywhere. Just hold on, this is home.

 

 

 

 

 

11

Dear Audrey Hope,

Tomorrow you are 11.

You are light and love and everything good in this world.

At school pick up the other day Miss Amy said to me “Your Audrey is confident. She knows who she is.”

I couldn’t have said it any better. You have such a sureness of self.

You love cuddles and warm vanilla milk,

books and fireplaces,

the history channel and stuffed animals.

You care deeply for those who cross your path.

You are a story-teller, a truth seeker and a beautiful child of God.

Everyday you teach me. It’s been that way from the start.

I am incredibly blessed to have this front row seat watching you become more of who you were always meant to be.

This year will be full of more change-

middle school, a new house and a new big, loud family.

I have no doubt you will live this year with zeal, passion and yes more confidence.

Happy new year my girl. Happiest of birthday’s.

God bless and keep you safe.

Love,

Your Momma

This year’s birthday song just about says it all. I’ll be right here baby girl.

To be 7

Dear Ellery Jane,

Wow did this year just fly.

I look at you, sound asleep in my bed, and I still see remnants of my newborn.

Seven years ago you emerged on the scene, eager to take your seat at the table.

Life instantaneously became more interesting with you in it.

You are full of big words and big ideas.

You are passionate.

You are hilarious.

I am so proud of the person you are becoming.

This year will be full of change. We talk about that a lot don’t we?

Do me a favor baby girl- keep talking.

Keep using your voice to tell us how you feel.

Those feelings are real, they are valid and they deserve to be heard.

I can’t wait to watch the next twelve months unfold for you.

Thank you for the happy you bring to our family.

Happy birthday my beautiful girl.

Love,

Momma

P.S.- Your favorite part. I gave you a sneak peek earlier this week.

This year’s birthday song.

 

13

Dear Sidney,

Thirteen it is,

at the threshold of high school,

a teenager.

I just love who you are.

Hard-working,

dedicated,

focused,

helpful,

endlessly fascinating to me.

A gazillion words and none could do justice in describing you.

Over the last twelve months, it has been such a gift to watch you grow your talents.

You are acutely aware of the needs of others, whether that be your horse, your best friends or your Momma. The way you engage with thoughtful questions and generous compliments makes each person in your presence feel loved and valued. That gift my dear will take you farther than any algebra skills ever could (apologies to your eighth grade math teacher).

Your drive is impressive. Would you do me a favor though? Give yourself a moment each day to pause and reflect on all you have accomplished. There will always be something else to strive for, but the here and now will be gone before you know it.

Thank you for your laughter, your cooking abilities so lovingly shared with your family, your attention to detail and for kissing me goodbye in the drop off line at school.

I’m very excited for your year ahead.

Happiest of birthday’s Sidney Reagan.

Love,

Momma

I promised you nothing sappy for this year’s birthday song. I failed. I love you baby girl.