I'm not quite sure how it happens. You blink and a beautiful baby girl in arms is all of a sudden holding up nine fingers.
Hadleigh, in your nine years you have brought so much life to our family. You have taught me so much.
Here are nine things I love about you (and ten pictures I treasure):
2. You love nature; from catching butterflies and ladybugs to noticing mushrooms and leaves and birds and forest monsters (aka squirrels), you are so very aware of the beauty of the world God has created.
3. You are so incredibly agile. We call you a ninja.
4. You will choose to be outside (in any weather) over playing indoors any day of the year. Though I'm the exact opposite, I have always loved this about you.
5. You are adventurous. You are ready to explore in a moment's notice. All you need is a map (though it need not be accurate) and a packed bag and you're ready to navigate the neighborhood, a mountain, a road trip, or just an imagination-filled basement.
6. You have the most generous heart. And it instructs me every single day. You would rather share your last bite of dessert than eat it yourself. I look forward to seeing how this part of your character grows and shapes you as you get older.
7. You persevere. When challenges face you (and they have), you may get frustrated, but you always work through it. You have grown so much in so many areas of your life...and have helped me grow by your example.
8. You are kind. Your love towards your siblings brings me joy...they are your best friends.
9. I love how, out of all the sweet and extravagant birthdays desserts, you chose ice cream cones this year. You love & enjoy the simple things in life...and you make them special, just by being you.
Hadleigh, you are a tremendous blessing to all of us. I am so excited to see all that your ninth year brings.
Happy Birthday, precious one.