Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sarah: 20 Things I Love About You

Dear Sarah,

Happy 20th birthday. What a fast two decades these have been since the day you were born.
I'll never ever forget the way I found out I was carrying you. No, it wasn't a pregnancy test.
It wasn't a sonogram. It wasn't even a hunch. I was lying in bed one night in mid-December, 1988, when I felt a flutter in my womb. It fluttered again. Since I had just given birth to Ben eight months earlier, this flutter was unmistakable. Putting the old "two and two" together, I told your dad, "Honey, if this isn't a baby in my belly, I don't know what it is." (He said it was the broccoli.) Two days later the OB (not the GI) sonogram technician congratulated me. "You're 22 weeks along. Your baby is due in April."

Being a girl of order, your birthday lines up numerically after Ben's. His is 3/21/88 and yours is 4/22/89. (My sister Rachel teased, "Should we reserve a hospital room for 5/23/90?")

Sarah, I would like to share with you 20 things today that bring me great pleasure at this stage of your life. In no particular order, here they are:

1. You are making the most of your single years even though you have a deep longing to be married. I appreciate the way you have initiated a junior high/high school girls' fun times, drawing out the homeschool girls especially who have a hard time bonding with the day schoolers. You are active in the Christian Club at school. You hold a job. You babysit so a certain young couple can go to care group consistently. You attend your own care group faithfully. You will work at youth camp in PA this summer, gaining independence (waaaa), but only after you sought and received your dad's and my blessing. (Thanks for that.)
2. You come home from school with the funniest and most touching stories. I love to hear about your special ed kiddoes and how much joy they bring you. I was moved when you cried over one teacher whose son needed a heart transplant and she had to quit work. The boy got his new heart, which I reminded you meant another child lost his life, and you choked up for the family who was grieving as well as for the one rejoicing.
3. You visit old-ER people in the nursing home and bear with the ignoble spirit of a certain Miss S. The 80-year-old woman has sins you detest: prejudice, lust, and bitterness. Though you tell the stories that crack me up, I see that you really wish Miss S had the joy of Christ.
4. You go out of your way, over and over, for people. You grocery shop at BB's for the fun of it, but it's practical service to our family. You use your time and gas money to bless license-less friends with rides (friends who are old enough to be driving). You've taken lunch to Steve at work. You've folded Ben's clothes. You've taken Joel to Walmart, Chuck E's, the library, and Goodwill and countless other places he enjoys.
5. You are a conscientious, hardworking student. Congratulations on being accepted into the honors society at school. You manage your time well in order to prioritize good grades.
6. You give generously of your resources. Not only do you still sponsor a child through Compassion, you bless your Promise Kingdom 2-year-olds with extra nice crafts and treats that
you often spend your own money on.
7. You listen to people. What a rare thing these days, to be really heard. You, of all people in the family, seem to care most about my job, and I appreciate that. It means so much to me, that when you tune in to my stories or offer suggestions, I feel honored.
8. You keep people and places organized. Now that you're a church secretary, I see the grown-up little girl acting on her dreams. You used to love to play receptionist (though your office was always intaking pediatric patients). I know Pastor Joel appreciates your cheerful willingness to do whatever he asks, whether for the singles' or childrens' ministries.
9. You bake a mean triple chocolate cake.
10. You often cook dinner when I'm just too tired or woefully uninspired or unprepared.
11. You maintain high standards of personal integrity, modesty, and responsibility. People can count on you to be consistent, honest, pure, and dedicated.
12. You are loyal.
13. You keep confidences. Not even I have detected problems you've been experiencing with a friend until it's over and you've forgiven them. You don't gossip and aren't a drama queen.
14. You seek the counsel and friendship of older women whom you (and I) respect. 15. You teach 2 year olds at church. Not just 2 year olds, but 14 or more at once! Little tikes just past one year old, mixed with those on the brink of three. Wow! When I asked, "How do you know they're getting anything out of your lessons?" you gently replied, "I just teach as if they can understand , and hope they want to come back again." One little girl told her mommy, "Miss Sarah is my best friend." I think some of them might get sad when they realize that turning 3 means Miss Sarah won't be their teacher anymore.
16. You are an intercessor. I know you have a long prayer list and take your requests to God.
17. You write a blog I enjoy very much, even if I don't comment very often. I should, to encourage you to keep writing.
18. You thank people, even me, whom you could take for granted. It means a lot to a mom to hear, "Thanks for packing my lunch" or "Thanks for folding my laundry. I was so tired."
19. You have a beautiful smile. And you use it often. The joy of the Lord comes forth every time.
20. You are authentic. You are you, the same sweet Sarah at home as you are at school, church, work, restaurants, retail shops, and grocery stores. You are the best daughter a mom or dad could ever want.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, I love you and hope your coming year is filled with great joy and lots of love. (Selfishly, I hope that does not mean a husband for you, but I can't pray out both sides of my mouth , now can I?)

Happy birthday, Sweetie.



Karen said...

your daughter is certainly a jewel not only of your family but of the extended church family as well. Sarah, you are well loved indeed.

Laurie said...

I am crying. What a treasure Sarah is. I pray Maggie will be like you, Sarah.

p.s. we have lots of guys here :)

Kelly said...

What a tribute. She has been a rare treasure to our family as well - a jewel of great price. Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Sarah said...

Aww, thanks mom! I'm glad that through all my failures you can still find something good to blog about. :)

Everyone else-- you are too kind. Thanks for the birthday wishes!

Marie said...

Trying so hard not to cry. too late. i truly hope that my Elaina grows up to be like sarah. love you both!

Amy said...

what a beautiful picture of her, and a beautiful tribute. it makes me wish I knew her!

Laurie Lynn said...

What a sweet tribute to a sweet, lovely and humble daughter!
You mentioned some very virtuous and attractive qualities!
I rejoice in God's blessing!
Happy Birthday Miss Sarah@