Well here we are... double figures! The little years lie behind you and I see now, more clearly every day, the young woman you are growing into... independent, gentle, caring, loyal and kind. The characteristics we saw beginning in those early years when you were thrown into independence so quickly... three younger siblings by the time you were five... have blossomed and grown in the loveliest of ways. You are the best of leaders to our little crew, forgiving and patient in ways I have often felt I could learn from, and all of your siblings love you to bits. Your sister, perhaps, is your biggest fan and I'm so thankful to God for the relationship you two have (even though I need to remind myself of this when you're in the middle of a full scale bicker!)
As you so hoped, your birthday this year has been spent in Norway. A day of celebrating you, and thanking God for the gift you are to our family. It was the perfect day for you - out in the sunshine, out on the boat, eating cake, reading books, spending time with your cousins and second-cousins. You loved being out in the ring, and were utterly fearless!
This birthday feels like a bit of a milestone. As you return to school, we will begin the process of looking for your secondary school, of giving you a bit more independence, of allowing you to stretch your wings a little more. I thought I'd be so sad about this part of parenting, and yet honestly, I'm just really excited that I get to be part of the journey. I get to walk through the changes and decisions with you as you grow up in these next few years. It is terrifying and thrilling all at once!
I love our deep and meaningfuls, our honest and open chats over books in the evenings. I love that fact that you love reading even more than I do, and I'm in awe of your ability to devour books at the rate you do! I love your hunger for the Word, and your curious nature that means there is always some deep, theological question for us to try and help you work through. I love that you're a thinker, that you like to work things out and talk things through. You stretch and challenge me in the best possible way.
So happy birthday Ava M - as we step over this next threshold, my prayer is that whatever the next few years hold for you, you will stand firm through all the emotional rollercoaster that the teen years can bring, that you will continue to ask questions and talk openly, that you will grow more in your love for God's Word, that you will find your identity rooted in who God says you are, and not in what anyone else thinks, that you will take joy in feeding daily on God's word and will delight to talk to your Heavenly Father in prayer.
Our prayer is that you'll keep going where you've been growing... and that the Lord Jesus will be your joy, your hope, your steadfast certainty and your very best friend.
We love you Ava M!
Mama and Papa x