They don't lie when they say "the days are long, but the years are short". Those early days where it was just me and you seem a lifetime ago. I sometimes see mothers around and about with one kid in tow and feel a strange sense of longing and loss and thankfulness all at once. Having a large family means one on one time is scarce, but perhaps therefore more savoured... the days of mothering one little soul, of investing all my time and energy in just you, are a very, very distant memory. It was only nine short months really... nine months before we realised we had been gifted a second little soul to cherish, a little sister for you... and at the age of five, you already had three little siblings to mother and fuss about and care for. You truly were made to be a big sister.
Your Papa and I were talking about you the other day - all of you actually - about the character traits we see growing in each of you, the gifts, the challenges, the joys... and for you we talked about how you have always been a people person, and how you have always taken a proactive interest in the interests of others. We love that about you... you don't enter a conversation with your own agenda... with a desire to talk about what you want to... you are, for seven years old, an incredibly patient and good listener (except when the TV is on!) and you are always so enthusiastic and positive about the interests of others. You loved your first football match with your Papa this summer - because you enjoy football, but also because you love him, and take an interest in what he loves. You created your own Essential Oils book - because you find them fascinating, but also because you took an interest in something I was interested in. I need to learn from you Ava girl... to take an interest in the interests of others, purely out of love for them.
You have also become a veracious reader. The speed at which you not only devour books, but are also able to discuss them, is unfathomable. I took eight decent sized chapter books away to Norway this summer for you (knowing you would be book hungry!), and we bought another en route... and it still wasn't enough. I literally LOVE sharing literature with you... because you love the classics, but also devour a good adventure book. This summer you have discovered Enid Blyton, and have now read no less than 17 of her books since May... madness! Together we've worked our way through the Little House series, classics like "Anne of Green Gables", "The Secret Garden", "The Railway Children", "Little Women" and we have just begun the first in the Harry Potter series. I'm so excited for all the books we have yet to discover together!
You are fascinated by the world - by cultures and people and geography. When I asked you what you would like to do for your birthday this year, you answered with complete conviction and sincerity; "I'd like a Global Adventure Party" - a trip around the world! You love information books about nature, about other countries, and you love a good atlas! You certainly didn't get the geographer gene from me!
You have an ever-increasing desire for independence. Your favourite memory from Norway this summer was without a doubt having the freedom to run up the lane to your Bestemor and Bestefar's house all by yourself. We didn't tell you but we watched you running up that hill, and when we lost sight of you panic called to check you'd arrived. It's hard, releasing independence. And yet I see how important it is to you, to feel trusted.
We are so very thankful for you Ava... for so many reasons - for the huge support and help you are to me around the home, for your generous nature and kind heart, for your willingness to drop everything for your siblings. You aren't perfect, of course, and you get frustrated with the childish games of the younger children sometimes, but I can always rely on you, and for that I'm truly grateful.
But most of all, I'm truly grateful for the work the Lord is doing in your heart - for the way you love to read his word, and the habit you've formed of reading scripture every morning. For your truthfulness and willingness to admit when you've done something wrong... for your desire to be more like the Saviour. Our prayer, as it has been since the day we found out I was carrying you, remains the same...
That you would know how how long and wide and high and deep is the love of Christ, and that you would be rooted and established in that love your whole life long...
We love you darling girl!
Happy 7th Birthday!
Mama and Papa xx