Today you are officially a teenager. Funny, I don't feel much older than I did the day I had you, and yet, I guess we've both grown up over these last 13 years.
We've both learned so much along the way, and with every challenge our family has faced, I have watched you grow and learn and become.
And while it hasn't always been easy, it has always been a little bit amazing.
Yesterday you said to me, it was your "last official day of being a kid", and I have to tell you, something inside me stood up and took notice. And I wondered at what point we made you think that being 13 meant you had to be all grown up.
Because, dear daughter, you don't.
You've always been such an old soul. Always seemed older. Sometimes I've forgotten you're still "just a kid" and maybe treated you like you shouldn't act silly or young or goofy, and for that, I'm sorry. Just because I'm not silly or goofy does not mean I don't want you to be.
I do. Very much. Because, sweet girl, you've got the rest of your life to be a grown up. The rest of your life to worry about responsibilities and stresses. You don't have them now, and I don't want you to. I want you to know the way it feels to be carefree, even if it's just for a few more years.
Thirteen is a big one. I suppose you should feel older and more mature, and I bet that's what you want. You're at that age where you want to be taken seriously and treated like an adult, and I know how important that is. I actually remember filling my own journals with questions, wondering why no one would listen to what I had to say.
All I can tell you is, the time will come. Keep looking for your voice. Keep seeking ways to use it in kindness. And know that even on the days you think no one is listening, they are. Sometimes it's in the silence that your voice will be heard.
So while maybe I'm not quite ready to lose the little girl in you...I know that time marches on. I know that you're changing and growing up. And as you do, there are things I hope you feel.
Loved. And listened to. And empowered to go after the dreams that's God's begun to stir in your heart. I hope you feel like you've been made for a purpose. I hope you feel like God made you for a reason. I hope you feel like you can change the world...even if you are just one person.
I hope you feel smart. And brave. And kind. I hope you feel strong and beautiful and accepted.
I hope you seek simplicity, keep your priorities in check, never look down on other people, get caught up in good things. I hope you rest. Seek joy. Find truth. I hope you ask questions. Stay curious. Believe in yourself. Believe in our family.
And I hope most of all, that you begin to follow hard after the One who gave you life.
Because His love for you knows no limits. And neither does mine.
Happy Birthday, dear Sophia. May all your wishes come true...