Today, my first baby, Jillian “Raine,” turns thirteen and gets to finally be the teenager that she has thought that she was since about the age of two. This morning she left for school, speaking in an Australian accent that she swears is British and dressed in imitation of “The Doctor” specifically the 9th Doctor from Doctor Who. I hugged her, kissed her, pinched her chubby cheeks, and sent her off to school shaking my head in wonder at how
strange amazing my little baby has grown to be. She is as tall as me now which is hardly an accomplishment, but I literally remember her just being born and the trauma beauty of giving birth to my first child. When she was a tiny girl, I would make her promise to let me “hold her like a tiny baby” on my lap on her wedding day, but now we joke that she will have to hold me like a tiny baby instead. It is with a beautiful terror that we watch her change and grow as she blossoms from a little girl into a lovely, young woman.
When she was in 2nd grade, her teacher asked the parents to write an assignment which was to be a letter to their child about what made them special. I wrote the following letter which Raine deemed “the best from the class” and I told her truthfully that it was because I was blessed with the best little girl. She wanted me to share it, so here it is:
Mommy and Daddy have always known how special you are. Even when you were a tiny baby in Mommy’s belly, you were doing more flips than an Olympic gymnast and you kicked Mommy harder than a World Cup soccer player ever could. You even hung-out in Mommy’s belly when we won our first National Collegiate Cheerleading Championship. Not just any baby could do such fancy moves and help them win in someone’s belly, but you could and that made you very special.
You were such a smart baby that when Mommy and Daddy went to college you did too. You even got to hangout with the University President and the Dean of Students. Talk about accomplished play date buddies, but then again, you weren’t just a regular baby…you were very special.
You were such a special baby that if there had been a chubbiest baby competition, you would have won. No other baby could have ever had as many fat rolls as you. You were the chubbiest chubber.
You have always been such a sweet, cheerful girl and even far away from grandparents, people used to fight to baby-sit you. Most parents have to pay people to watch their babies, but not you. Everyone wanted to watch you and you were so special that they gave you gifts instead of us paying them. If that doesn’t mean that you are the cutest, sweetest, and most special girl, then I don’t know what does.
Even your eyesight is special. It is so special that you have to have glasses to see like regular kids. This is just another example of how much more special you are than the regular, so called “perfect vision” kids. Who wants to be regular anyway? You are special. Those glasses also help to hide your beautiful, “big eyes,” because if people really saw them then their hearts would melt because of how gorgeous your little face is. Your eyes are so special that they change colors just to suit your moods. They were blue until you were three, then turned green, and now take turns being brown or green just to keep us guessing. The most special thing about your eyes is that they see when someone needs help and you are so compassionate that you love to serve other people.
About that special serving gift…you also happen to probably be the best cleaning kid in the whole country. Not only are you so special that you can mess up the house in a minute flat, but your special superpowers allow you to clean it up at lightening speed and make it spic and span. This is so special, because it really is a big help to mommy. You even do your chores without complaining (well…at least most of the time) which is something that even grown-ups can’t seem to do. You are so kind to others and that makes you super special.
Your kind heart is what also makes you a good teacher to your brothers and sister. You are special because you are the world’s bossiest kid. No one, and I mean no one, is as bossy as you. That means that no one, and I do mean no one, is as special as you either. Your bossiness makes you a great big sister because you lead your siblings in all sorts of games and activities. You share your toys and your time with them and set a good example for them to follow. You lovingly read to them and take the time to teach them all the things that you have learned along the way. They couldn’t ask for a more wonderful sister and they love you so much because you are so loving and encouraging to them. However, we would appreciate it if you didn’t have to be at school so often, because the whole family misses our sweet, little “Rainedear,” when you are gone.
You are special because you are confident. You always walk with your head up and a huge smile on your face. You are not scared of anything…well except maybe roller-coasters. Even that makes you confident…confident that you never want to ride another roller-coaster again.
Did I mention that you are strong and always want to do what is right? Not only do you have super strong muscles that are much stronger than most boys’ muscles, but you also are strong enough to stand up for what is right. If someone is doing wrong, you always still love them, but you encourage them to do what is right. You are also quick to ask forgiveness if you do something wrong which makes you so special. It is very difficult to have integrity in all situations, but also the ability to forgive and be humble enough to ask for forgiveness when you do something wrong.
You are special, because you are unique. There is no one just like you and we are blessed to have the one and only, original, Jillian Raine Young. You have different strengths and abilities than everyone else and you use these gifts to the best of your abilities. You always try to do your best and we are very proud of you. You bring joy to our hearts and laughter to our family. You are loved and you are so loving. You are sweet. You are kind. You are thoughtful. You are gentle. You are hard-working. You are responsible. You are wise. You are forgiving. You are diligent. You are smart. You are funny. You are joyful. You are trustworthy. You are compassionate. You are creative. You are independent. You are persistent. You are merciful. You persevere. You are beautiful inside and out and you definitely give the best hugs and kisses.
If we could sit you on our lap like a giant baby, we would tell you one last thing. You are special because when God made you, He made you wonderfully, perfect for our family and His glory. He could not have picked a better daughter. God knew we needed you, before we knew we needed you. He perfectly created and formed every part and piece of you. He perfectly created and formed every part and piece of you. He has give you a heart like His and He loved you so much that He gave his Son to die for us all. That is such an amazing love, yet we loved because He first loved us. Never forget how special you are and that God made you perfectly that way. We love you and we will always love you, so you better not forget that…after all, you do have the most smart and special brain.
Mommy and Daddy
There have been some small changes from this 2nd grade letter as Raine has grown throughout the years, but overall the sentiment is still the same. We had lost this letter and rediscovered it sometime a few years later at which time Raine reread it and I asked her what she thought. She said to my amusement, “2nd grade me was pretty awesome, I need to step my game up.” Happy 13th birthday, Raine! We love you more than you can ever imagine. (Also, we would appreciate it if you could avoid being a terror during the teenage years, however, even so, we would still love you just as much.)