To My Daughter On Her Birthday

Dearest Gaelynn,

Today is your eighth birthday. Eight years old. Indeed, it seems so small amount for all that has occurred in your young life… and yet, I can scarcely imagine that it has been already eight years. Halfway to sixteen… I shudder to think.

As I am sitting at my desk in the office, writing this letter to you, you are at your mother`s desk next to mine – presumably engaged in a writing assignment of some sort. However… you are, in fact, holding Sophia in your lap and giggling, while she scribbles on a sheet of printer paper in wide circular strokes and mad baby yawps.

This year, for you, has been one of transition… to say the least. Or, in the parlance of these times, change. Yes… much has changed since we celebrated your seventh year.

You have welcomed a new baby sister into the world; bade tearful goodbyes to dear old friends, and grown to love new ones; left, with your family, the house (and town) you have lived in for most of your early childhood, moving completely across the country; made a brave sortie into the maelstrom of public education, keeping a serene and dignified resolve in the face of numerous adversities… and revealed much of the character of your person, that still continues to blossom before my wondering eyes.

Growing ever taller and leaner, while remaining graceful and elegant in your motions. Of “honey-golden” hair (on a curious whim, you decided to try out a shorter hair-style late last Summer but have since decided that you prefer it to grow long again) and eyes of deep Jade green; fair and delicate of complexion; long and lithe in figure, you seem intent on looking more like the Elvish folk of the Tolkien “legendarium” than the ruddy, powerfully-built, and freckled stock of your Irish and Scandinavian ancestors. I think you shall exceed your mother`s height before your age doubles, though I find it somewhat unlikely that you shall much approach mine.

In matters of intellect, I confess, you have suffered from the many various complexities involved in so dramatic a relocation as ours – far more so than by any deficiency on your part. Verily, you have a voracious appetite for learning and I regret that I have not been more able to nourish you in wisdom and knowledge in a manner I would have preferred (and ought). Despite this, you have profited much by having an advanced (that is, for your age) aptitude for study and insight. Your inferences are, at the very least, interesting where they may not be accurate and you show a strong talent for logical reasoning – catching me in moments of weary imprecision and ambiguity with a guileless inquiry that cuts to the marrow. May the gifts He has given in such abundance be soon brought into His protectorate, lest you turn vagabond and savage in the Wordly Wilds.

Your interests continue to incline towards Horses – but in this past year, you have traded fanciful notions of “cowgirl princesses” for the more earnest ambitions of Veterinary Medicine. You have shown a keen desire for diagnosing and treating injuries, combined with training and rehabilitation… all of horses, of course. Not to say that you have completely refrained from painting such pragmatic objectives with the gilded veneer of childish whimsy. After we read Xenophon`s On Horsemanship together, you resolved to learn how to “talk with horses” and train them in a manner that is without violence.

I have also seen a gradual “cooling” of your personality in recent months. That is, moments where you were once so wildly frenetic have been increasingly replaced by long quiet hours of solitude. You are still affectionately playful with your siblings and friends, but you have also taken far more opportunities to be by yourself than in times past. Living where we do, I am able to give you “free reign” to walk around our tranquil tree-lined yard and woody neighborhood – a privilege you relish, often stealing away to a favored little grove to sit in shady silence. This calm is easily dashed by the intrusive rambunctiousness of your brother, but I am intrigued by the many possible implications of this development.

You continue to mature in your interpersonal relationships as well, easily dashing the clichd (and often unfounded) stereotype of the “cloistered home-schooler” with a disarming ability to charm “strangers” and forge fast friendships with peers and adults alike. Everyone, from your teachers (at the public school) to the adults of our church, is delighted with your sparkle and verve. It seems that you have been blessed with much of the charisma that your father often lacks; may it someday serve you in nobler pursuits. Which brings me to more sober matters…

I lament that you have, as yet, made no repentance of Sin and profession of Faith in the LORD Jesus Christ. This is not to say that I would press a hasty and empty coercion of religion (GOD prevent me from such mad folly!), only that I am grieved that someone so dear to me (and cleft unto my heart`s love) must remain separate from me in a bond most sacred. Though I treasure and adore you as my sweet first-born child, I would rather call you my “Sister” in Christ than only the daughter of my body.

Even as I celebrate this eighth year of your mortal life, it is my most ardent prayer that you will come to know the author of Life everlasting and claim the gift of Salvation found only in the Messiah. May it be so, my precious little lamb.

I remain, your devoted and loving father…


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