To my daughter on her birthday…

Dearest Gaelynn, today you are thirteen…  a teenager, a middle-schooler, and very much a young lady.

With each passing season you resemble less and less the little girl and more and more a woman. It is terrible and wonderful at the same time. Though you are still so young, and have scarcely accomplished much of your aims and ambitions, I am so proud of who you are and who you are becoming. It is wonderful to behold.

The firstborn and eldest, you are the humble chieftain of the “band of gypsies” that is the Prosser children. All four of your siblings look up to you, and you share an affectionate relationship to each of them – especially little Xander, who clings to you almost like a secondary mother figure.

While you sometimes have your “moments” you are tremendous asset to your family and an invaluable resource to your mother and I. You are capable of performing any and all household chores and can be trusted to look after the younger children without fear. In fact, just a few days ago I caught myself asking you to drive up to the store for something. Oh, but I do not hasten you to grow up any quicker than you are.

In appearance you continue to grow tall and willowy, wearing your standard issue “Chuck Taylors” you are just a shade under 5′ 9” with long graceful arms and legs.

You move with an easy balance and leisure, and you are trim and well-proportioned in figure. School athletics helps, but you have a natural predisposition toward exercise. Without being prompted you’ll sometimes go for a jog or long walk around the neighborhood. Though slender in frame, you’re tough and have a strong inherent endurance. I believe you’ll mature into a fine distance runner during your high school years, and your twirling instructor believes you have an aptitude for drill team.

In personality your reticence and reserve has deepened into a strong contemplative spirit. Though friendly and tender with your family and friends, you are also content to remain in solitude. While many of your schoolmates are often silly and dramatic, you are known for your serene amiability.

Your disposition, I suspect, also gives you sway with some of your friends – several of whom often seek your counsel in the midst of their adolescent hysterics. One of your teachers told me that the boys in the middle school are largely intimidated by you, seemingly because you have the gravitas of a young adult and remain wryly indifferent to the mercurial caprices of the middle school world.

Admittedly, I sometimes try to see if this is not just a clever adaptation on your part – an adroit defense mechanism, if you will. But it seems as sincere as anything else about you.

You understand that world, and are able to even participate in it on a certain level, but remain nonplussed to a startling degree for a child of your age. There aren’t many college-age girls with your modest mettle, nor grown women for that matter. In this, I find you tremendously heroic and I am in loving awe.

In intellect you continued to fulfill the promise of your early years. You are intelligent and artistic and full of creativity and passion. You are successful academically with little effort, maintaining a regular presence on the honor roll without strain, but more impressive than this is your curiosity. You do not simply want to “know” something, you want to understand it.

I confess, there are times when I will ask the sorts of leading questions many parents ask of children, in a not-so-subtle effort to find out what’s going on in their hearts and minds…  but you’re way ahead of the curve and too smart to be tripped up with much inquiry. You’re your father’s daughter, and you usually know what I’m getting at with the first question. All of this to say: you are wise, my child. You have a wisdom that only comes from above, the wisdom of gracious and fearless love for others.

In heart, you are of such pure intent it makes a man question his Calvinism. All kidding aside, you give me such great hope for the woman you’re going to become. Seldom a week goes by where your praises are not lauded by someone…  a teacher, a relative, a church member, recently even a classmate stopped me to tell me how you helped her with another peer who was bullying her. It makes me very proud to see you doing so much good at such a young age. While you are still just a little swan, I cannot wait to watch you soar.

Happy birthday, my dear little girl, I wish you many blessed returns of the day.

Love, your devoted father,

Matthew

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