The noise and festivities having faded into the quiet of the late evening, I have decided to pause for a moment and reflect upon you… for today is your ninth birthday.
Another year older, nine years old. It seems so strange to think of you so “old” as nine years, yet I can also scarcely believe that you are still so young a girl… you are growing so fast in mind and body and heart.
Continuing to grow tall and slender, with fair skin, dark green eyes, and flowing honey-brown hair; gentle and yet carefree in posture, you are an unadorned natural beauty. You have an endearingly “funky” sense of personal style that reminds me of your mother as a girl, yet you also enjoy “dressing up” in more conventional dress for church and special occasions.
There have been some interesting developments in your personality over this past year, as you have sought to make a more clear designation between yourself and your siblings.
You are becoming more aware of your age and place as the “big sister” and eldest child of the family. You are very protective and tender towards your younger brothers and baby sister, sometimes a bit more attentive than they might like. You seem a natural caregiver, intuitively sensitive to the needs or desires of others and always glad to lend a hand.
Casual and engaging towards children or adults, you tend to make friends rather easily and yet deeply at the same time. You know what you like in people and hold fast to them with a reckless vulnerability that terrifies me almost as much as it intrigues. Like the aphorism says, you love others as though you’ve never been hurt and conceal your wounds ‘neath hopeful smiles.
More than any of these pithy observations are the greater frequency and depth of questions concerning the Faith.
Some months ago you expressed an ardent desire to become a Christian and to be baptized, a matter your parents have taken with all seriousness and priority. We have availed ourselves to your inquiries, coupled with those we have put forth to you in the hopes of finding a Sister in our child.
I am encouraged by what evidences have been made apparent thus far, but am not desirous to make a “two-fold child of Hell” of my own daughter out of a sense of religious entitlement or misplaced zeal. If these be the seeds of Faith, then I hope to nourish them carefully. If not, I wish to dispel any illusions your wayward mind might have secretly crafted within your child’s heart.
You have, in your so few years, borne the greatest brunt of the many changes and variances that have occurred in our family (indeed, your very birth precipitated some of them) but I make no excuses for you. You are my firstborn child and dear to me. I adore all your peculiarities and attributes.
I love you, my sweet Gaelynn, and I wish you many happy returns to this day of your birth.
Your devoted father,