I cannot believe you are 9. It is what every mother says, every year their baby becomes older, but this time it is very hard to believe. I'm watching you. Every day. You are becoming exactly who you started out as. The exact person I saw in you from the beginning.
You have the best heart. That is how I would describe you in a nut shell (pun intended now that we have just realized your allergy to tree nuts ; ) But, seriously. You see the good in everything. It is so beautiful that it is actually heart breaking. I wish so often for the world to be more the way you see it and believe it to be.
This morning when I gave you your birthday card and present, you cried. You cried happy tears out of excitement for being 9 and for being able to score front row seats to a play that you wanted to see. It touched my heart. That my gift to you, which did not cost much, meant so much to you. It made me feel like I know you. And I know you so well. That makes a momma's heart smile.
You had this amazing birthday with all of your closest friends and even one of my students. It made me happy to see you so content; so included; in such a wonderful community of little people. When you were little, I always prayed for you to find the right friends and by that I meant the good ones; the ones that build you up, that you have fun with, and that stick around. As we were celebrating today I looked around and I saw Nonnie and 2 of my best friends from high school. And I was reminded that I meant one of them when I was only 1 year older than you are today. And that is mind blowing. It is also a testament to the way I've always picked friends. And how much I value and hopefully teach you loyalty. At the same time that I enjoyed seeing my friends and family, I truly missed our friends back east. They have such love for you after watching you grow up your whole life. And for that, my heart was sad.
So, Madeline, your birthday was extraordinary. You said several times that it was your best birthday ever. And I feel the same. I couldn't be more proud of who you are and who you are becoming. I love you more than you know.