There is love that is spoken of in books. Love that is portrayed in movies and acted out on the stage. Love that inspires songs and poetry. There is a love you feel when you stand in a white dress, hand in hand with the gallant knight you've naively chosen to pledge your life and your heart to.
And then there is a love that is altogether... different.
It's not bigger, necessarily, but it defies categorization. It leaves you without adequate words to convey its breadth and depth. It is a love you'll never truly understand until you carry a human inside you; until you feel the warmth of tiny, new fingers wrapped around your own; experience the joy of arms flung with wild abandon around your neck and the most magic words whispered in your ear: I love you, Mommy.
It is a love that changes the very core of who you thought you were.
Every year as we come to this milestone of your birthday, I wish I could better capture the essence of who you are. I wish I could commit to memory every single thing about you, because I know that even as I type this, you are changing, evolving, edging ever closer to the woman God designed you to become. I cannot stop this - I wouldn't, even if I could (though my mommy's heart would like to) - so all I can do is breathe in deeply and soak up this moment and enjoy who you are right now.
Because who you are? It is magic.
I am so very, very proud of my big girl, with your strong ideas, kind heart, and joyful spirit. Keep learning, my baby. Keep dreaming. Keep trusting and following where He leads. Keep caring and hoping. Keep growing.
Most of all, keep on being you, and know that you will always have a cheerleader.
Thank you for the gift of being your mom.
I love you always,
(And, I stand by all that I wrote last year. I may never say it better or more completely - it's still true!)