Friday, February 6, 2015

Love: Soaking It In and Giving It Out {Julia's 13th Birthday}

Words fall short in too many of life’s experiences and the response of asking my friends to help me to celebrate Julia’s 13th birthday this winter was one of those.  They all came.  They all brought words of love and wisdom and encouragement and blessing for her.  And it was very humbling.  For both of us.

 I regret not getting a picture of everyone who came that day but here are a few of them!  {I can't thank you ladies enough!}

As a parent, I want to make these milestones meaningful and sometimes this can be done within our family but as our kids get older, I realize the need- and benefit-  to bring more people in.  Our kids need to see the benefit of having close friends, living in community and being loved as a family by other people.  The investment and the fruit is invaluable.  We all win.  We are all challenged.  We are better people because of these friends.  My kids have richer hearts by having been loved on by our families and friends.

That particular morning I was a bit frazzled for some reason.  I think a few different circles of friends were colliding and maybe I was too distracted with the occasion to make that an easy transition for everyone.   Looking back, I felt like an observer that morning and not much of an engager which I regret, but Julia took it all in.  As much as she could.  And that’s the most important.

There were such soul feeding words spoken to her and over her that it was difficult to contain it all in our hearts and minds.  We recorded most everyone and have many words written or typed out.  She still has all of the cards and papers in a special place in her room and I know she pulls them out from time to time.  I pray she will find them life giving and purposefully directional throughout the years— and that the truths will blow in from the Spirit as different circumstances surround her.

Jeff snuck in at the end {is "snuck" a word?} and made us all cry.  If there is a daddy who delights in his daughter, this is him.

On a lighter note—

After school on Friday of that week, we picked up all of the girls in her class and took them to M.L. Phillips Elementary School where she and her friends hosted a party for some of the girls in the after school program.  Now, this was fun.  I brought the party food and they did the rest.  They brought nail polish, make up, hair toys {requested by the lady in charge of the program}—- and then they went to work making these little girls feel pampered and special.   I was so impressed with each girl in her class.  Not one hung back but each one engaged the girls and did a super job.  I was very proud of them.

Then we all came back to our house!

I’ve never had this many girls in my house at once.  I really think their favorite part was giving the gifts and watching her open them.  I loved getting to know some of them better— and their parents as they came to pick up.

The next morning, Julia and I left for a day together— making our first stop— doughnuts.  And since this isn’t a normal stop for us, I called my friend TJ to ask her where the closest one was.  Crazy but she was on her way to get doughnuts with her daughter and Atlee— two of Julia’s oldest friends.  AND I had the letter with me that TJ had written to her after she was born because I was planning on reading it to Julia sometime that day, but it was turning out way better than I had planned.

So over glazed, sprinkles, blueberry, cinnamon twist doughnuts and bad coffee, TJ read her beautiful letter to Julia for the first time.  I loved that two sweet friends were there to hear it- hear some of Julia’s story as told by TJ. It was the perfect way to begin the day she was born 13 years earlier.

Maybe Julia’s highlight of the day was getting an Instagram account on our “family iPhone”.  So here is her first post.

She and I enjoyed a day together giving her a chance to spend some of her birthday money.

I gave Julia a ring of mine that day with two {very} small diamonds to remind her of the birthday letter I wrote to her -- “Kindness and Truth”-- a physical reminder of two very important virtues.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
{in her case, her finger}
Write them on the tablet of your heart.  Proverbs 3:3

How I pray for this to be true-- of myself and of my sweet daughter.  It was a super week of special people, meaningful words and loads of fun.  And I didn't even write up her weekend away with her Daddy!  Later?!

1 comment:

Alyssa said...

It was hard to put that beautiful celebration into words as a guest, so I am glad you took time to write up this special day! Plus, it's fun to relive it!