Birthday Letter to My Daughter… My Middle Child.

My daughter… our middle child turned 11 last week.

ELEVEN.

Somebody send a medic! When they say time flies, THEY are NOT lying.

Most years I write a birthday letter to each of my kiddos and share them here. I do it in part for them to read someday, and in part as an essay on motherhood. Though some facts and sentiments are specifically related to my child… I know that many of the words and deep emotion I feel about my own kids are not unique to me. I think most moms would say very similar things about how utterly amazeballs their own kids are.

Day and (witching)hour dependent.

Let’s not forget, we ARE talking about kids… Resident mess-makers. Eye rollers. Fit-throwers.

What is it about our children that despite the messes, and noise, and chaos, they win over every inch of our being? Their presence forever changes the landscape of our hearts.

———-

My sweet and wildly adored Olivia,

When dad and I were choosing a name for you, we did so with great intention. Your name was carfeully, thoughtfully, lovingly, and desperately chosen.

Your big brother was such a wonderful, wicked handful. Armed with the belief that people often live up to the meaning of their name, I searched far and wide for a name that would ensure a reprieve from the tyranny of another child like your brother.

I kid.

But not much. Love your brother, but he was QUITE the toddler to reckon with.

From my research, Olivia was said to mean peace. A more recent search of the meaning has given me an alternate meaning, “Elf Army”.

I’m sorry, Olivia. I remember when I was about your age, my friend Jenny and I decided to look up our name in the dictionary. That’s when we learned a jenny is a female donkey. Between you and me, I’d take elf army over female donkey. Elves and hobbits are kind-of *in* right now, so I hope that is of comfort.

BUT… when we decided to go with Olivia, it was because we were lead to believe OLIVIA means PEACE.

Your middle name was also carefully chosen… Grace.

Peace. Grace.

When I talked about your name before you were born I would tell people it could go either way… my little girl would be the embodiment of peace and grace or the antithesis. To me, it was worth the risk.

Grace is something I think about a lot. It is a character trait I have longed to possess. To me, there is nothing much more lovely in life than when one extends abundant grace to another.

Olivia, you are exquisite in your extension of grace.

Your ability to “go with the flow” and truly be content amazes me daily. I am more of a “high strung” sort-of person… I take things personally, and carry frustration tightly when plans shift suddenly.

Meanwhile, there you are, Miss Cool As A Cucumber… just rollin’ with life.

Peace.

You may never know the beautiful example you set for me. Your existence has added the greatest wonder and joy to my life. You bring both peace and grace where ever you go. You are with me a lot, so… I’m pretty blessed.

Of course, you are still a big sister AND a little sister. You still have battles to fight, and certainly have opinions. But it takes a whole lot to ruffle your feathers, and I think that is pretty cool. I want to be like you when I grow up.

At age 11, you skip the dresses, but love the glitter. You have a laugh that lights up a room. Your laugh has always been infectious. You are quiet, yet bold. You sing like the sweetest angel and you pluck away at the guitar like you are going to make gold records someday.

You love to act, but struggle with shyness… You press on and what others think doesn’t really sway your decisions.

Brave.

You are brave and despite the pre-teen issues that are starting to try to grab hold of you, you recognize right and wrong and have the nerve to say something. That thing in you that keeps you even, helps you sift and discern… recognizing the mountain vs. the mole hill.

Watching you grow up is an honor. Being your mom, living in your everyday is a blessing. My heart leaps when you giggle and laugh… it aches when yours aches too. You drive me crazy with your constant questions, and flipping on the furniture. And it’s no secret your go-with-the-flow-lifestyle makes keeping your stuff orderly a bit of a challenge.

A lot a challenge.

I pray for your heart. For you to always have such deep joy. To always be innocent in spirit and as wildly kind-hearted as the heart of your childhood. I pray that you will never experience hurt or loss or disappointment, but when those things do come… I pray the joy, peace, grace, bravery and love for God at the core of who you are will be your strength… and your answer.

I love you Olivia. You are my hero. My joy. And my heart outside my body. Thank you for having the courage to be exactly who you are.

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9 Responses to “Birthday Letter to My Daughter… My Middle Child.”

  1. jubilee says:

    Lovely. You are truly blessed.

  2. Jo says:

    Oh, Jenny…The tears they are a rolling. Your heart, it speaks to mine. I feel the same way about my daughter. She is my hero. I hope to be just like her when I grow up some day…some day xoxo

  3. Michelle says:

    OK you made ME cry. I can’t even imagine your daughter reading this someday.
    OK crying again.
    That was beautiful.
    Happy Birthday to your girl.

  4. Jenn says:

    Amazing letter. Amazing girl. I’m sad our girls never got to have the tea parties we planned for them. Nevertheless, they are two peas in a pod. Sooooo very similar in demeanor. I love learning about Livi, as I am comparing her to Lexi, they would be BFF’s for sure. Any chance you guys want to move here?

  5. Tanna says:

    You minister to my momma’s heart constantly Jenny.. Thank you again and again for sharing the gift of You.

  6. Kim Hacking says:

    “Being your mom, living in your everyday is a blessing.” Wow. Wow. Wow!! Such powerful words to describe this blessed journey of motherhood. A beautiful letter to your daughter. 🙂

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