Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was about two years old, I was on the phone with a friend discussing the trials and tribulations of motherhood. I was complaining about my headstrong little girl and explaining how frustrated I was. My wise friend said something to me that I will never forget.
She said, "Lisa, you know why she drives you crazy, don't you?"
I replied, "No! Please tell me."
"It's because she is just like you!"
At the time I didn't really see it, but now I do - at least a little.
Rachel and I do have some similar personality traits. We can both be a bit stubborn and neither of us likes change very much. We both love words and writing. We both despise math. We both have a soft spot in our hearts for animals and children. We both tend to get grand ideas without always considering the details.
We are also very different. Rachel does not seem to care one iota what others think of her. She wears what she wears and does what she does without concern about the opinions of people. She strives to be unique and unlike every other "average jane" in the world. In that endeavor, she succeeds with flying colors.
She is super smart - and, that's not just a proud mama boasting. She attends a school for academically gifted middle schoolers and made it through 6th grade rather effortlessly. She can spout facts about animals and Greek mythology without blinking an eye.
She became a vegetarian at age 7 and has never looked back. She's been questioned, made fun of, and gone hungry at times, but her dedication has not faltered. Not once.
She is content by herself and comfortable around others.
She will not let herself be outdone by the boys. Ever.
I have said before and still believe wholeheartedly that she is one of the smartest, most self assured kids I have ever encountered. In short, she is amazing.
Today, she turns 12. When I think back to the day I brought her home from the hospital to today, it makes me smile and it breaks my heart. I wonder where the time has gone and how my baby girl has grown up so fast. Yet, I am so incredibly proud of the young lady she is and the woman she is becoming.
You are the one who made me a mother. You have changed me and taught me so much. You have amazed me every single day for the past twelve years. You are beautiful, strong, unique, and wonderful. When, people say we are a lot alike, I cannot help but smile because I consider that to be an ENORMOUS compliment. You are going to do big things in life I am certain. You are never afraid to just be you and I admire that immensely. I love you so, so, so much. I miss the little girl you used to be, but I can't wait to discover the woman you will become. Happy Happy Birthday, my dear! I am so thankful I have gotten to celebrate the last twelve with you and I look forward to celebrating many, many more!