Clare will forever, and always, be my Vacation Bible School baby. I was three days into leading the week at our parish, when we had an unexpected surprise. It was a full month before my due date, but after coming home to take a quick nap, my water broke. Actually, I thought I just needed to go to the bathroom – about five times in one hour – and that’s when I knew something was up. Her birth story is a real hoot. Let’s just get to the birthday letter, shall we?
Dear Clare Bear,
You’re a decade +1. This year has been such a joy with you. We are detecting the sliiiightest bit of sass, but with three siblings in front of you, I didn’t get blindsided by it. We’re starting to figure out this parenthood thing.
Yes, you’re still a hoarder of all the Amazon boxes, scrap pieces of paper, washi tape, cardstock and gum wrappers. My mom reminded me I did the same thing as a kid and look how I turned out. Ha!
You have a one-track mind and it’s spelled B-O-O-K-S. If you’re in the middle of one (which is almost always the case), I can’t trust you to follow any instructions. We often look around the house, wondering where you are, and then we look at one another, shrug and say, “Reading.” It’s what you do. Even your teachers ask you for book recommendations.
God gifted you with one of the sweetest spirits. As a baby, you were always calm and easy to soothe. And, of my six babies, you were the first to sleep through the night. Much of that has stayed with you. You are fiercely loyal to your friends, continually aware of other people’s feelings and a sweet ray of sunshine here in our home. The tween years aren’t without incident, but I trust that we will learn to weather them the same we have done with your older siblings: trust, patience and a hefty dose of prayer.
You really surprised us this last year by taking to cross country. You fought us tooth and nail, but the first time the coach saw you run, he said, “CLARE! Your form!” At the end of the season you earned most improved honors and we were thrilled for you. You may have gone in with a reluctant heart, but you sure came out a warrior.
I trust that someday you will hang up your clothes, rather than leave a trail through the entire house. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the year, though. Hangers, sweetheart. They’re you’re friends.
Neither your scoliosis, nor your brace, has slowed you down. Your dual curve is responding beautifully to the treatment and I am confident and hopeful we can keep you out of the ER. Never once, not one single time, have you complained about wearing your brace. Equally comforting has been the support of your closest friends. They have been such cheerleaders for you.
As you enter into the true middle school years, I pray you keep your sweet soul, determined mindset and confident approach to school. You have so very much to offer the world. Continue to be you, to fall deeper in love with your God-given gifts and abilities and to seek God in all things. Your faith inspires me, as your mama. You adore St. Gemma, the patron saint of those with back problems, and often remind me of God’s presence in our daily life.
We are so blessed, truly, to have you on our team.
Love you, sweetheart!