It is funny how memories work. We only met you a mere seven years ago, yet it seems like you have always been a part of our lives.
You were sitting in your front yard as we walked by. Cooper was so little and he stopped about every foot or so to examine something. He had just picked a dandelion out of your yard. I remember smiling at you and you smiling back. Your face lit up.
The next thing I knew you were walking with us and talking. Soo much talking! You had a lot to say…yet I don’t remember any of it. I just remember this bubbly little girl with long hair, long legs and long arms. My boy was enamored with you and so was I.
It wasn’t long before you became a part of our daily life. Cooper could not wait until you came knocking on our door. He would run as fast as his little legs would take him. You always had a hug for him and a smile. He lived for those smiles.
I remember when you would come during Coops nap and we would play board games. I kept thinking how I hope my children grow up to be half as pleasant and happy as this little girl. You always brought light and love with you.
You don’t know this, but being a stay-at-home mom can really be hard. With only little ones all day, it can get pretty lonely. I think I looked forward to your visits as much as Cooper. I loved watching you sing silly songs, play instruments, dance, make up plays, puppet shows, parades and just run around the house together. So much joyfulness.
Then came Lola. She was this chubby little baby that stole my heart. You adored her from the second you met her. But you did more than that. Having two kids proved very hard for me. I can remember so many times when I just thought I could not make it through another day, and your little knock came at the door. I would take a deep breath and smile. You would bring your playfulness through the door and change everything for us.
The years have passed and many things have happened. I have watched you grow and face hardships no child should have to face. I know things have been hard and impossible at times, yet you always manage to come through it with a sense of grace and love. It has been incredible to watch.
Today you turn 16 and my heart is breaking a little. You are no longer that tiny little thing that runs around with silks tied around your waist and funny hats on your head. Although we are separated by 2,764 miles (yep, I looked that up), you continue to be a part of our lives.
Whenever we take a road trip, someone will say, “I wish Elaine was here.”
Whenever the puppets come out, someone will say, “Do the Elmo Bad Guy thing like Elaine.”
Whenever we eat a banana, someone will say, “Panini, banana” and crack up.
Whenever silliness happens around here, someone will eventually belt out “Puppy Pie” at the top of their lungs…always ending in that signature laugh of yours.
You are with us every day my dear and always will be.
It is an honor to be able to watch you grow up, even from afar. You continue to amaze me with your faith, love and strength. The world is a better place because you are in it.
I am excited for your future and know that you will do something incredible with your life. We will be here, always, cheering you on.
So Happy Birthday beautiful. Shine bright and never forget who you are.
Love from your summer family,
Bridgette, Coops and Lola