Wednesday, July 6, 2016

On Your 6th Birthday {A Letter to Xiomara)

Happy 6th golden birthday to our gymnastics loving, animal caring, spunky, joy-filled, and always happy Xiomara!

Six years ago today you were born on a hot Georgia day to your birthmama. Two days after that, your birthmama lovingly placed you into my arms and my life has never been the same since.

One of my friends once described you as all spunk and sassafras. I could not think of a better description for you. Those who know you, know your energy has no bounds. That energy comes from deep inside you and comes out as pure joy. Always happy. Always making others around you smile. What a gift that is. I've probably told your dad a hundred times that life would have been so much different for us had we never adopted you. I would have desperately missed the joy you bring us.

I snuggled you to sleep last night, partly because you were all wound up from the 4th of July, and partly because I know these days are fleeting. I rubbed your back, sighed, and told you to please just go to sleep. In the light of the day, I almost wish I wouldn't have rushed it. Because tomorrow you turn six, and I would give anything to go back to those sweet days of newborn snuggles and little sleep.

It goes too fast sweetheart. One day, God-willing, you will see that for yourself. You are my baby. Most likely my last and this past year I've really had to work through the sadness of being done while not feeling ready to be done. But sometimes, we don't get a choice, but rather life chooses for us. If I could have chose, I would have chose to give you that baby sister that looks just like you that you so want. Or even the baby in my tummy like you have asked for a dozen times. Instead, I didn't get to choose this, but I can choose you. I can choose to cherish these last few "baby" moments with you.

Today as I tucked you in for your nap, I leaned down to kiss you and told you this was your last nap as a 5 year old, and you said, "Does that mean when I turn 6 tomorrow I don't have to nap anymore?", I giggled along with you and said maybe. You are a great nap taker, and your endless energy seems to demand that you rest for a little bit of each day, but maybe you are right and you will be done with naps. Can you maybe be done with your thumbie now too (dentist bills are no fun)?

This year was one of growth in your life. You got taller, and stronger. You have lost six teeth since your first tooth you lost last 4th of July!! Your favorite color is yellow. You love almost all foods, but some vegetables are not your favorite. An extreme extrovert, your idea of a fun day involves lots of activities and people. Performing for others is your thing, and you make sure everyone notices you before you do something. This past year you went from asking me to "load it up", to properly asking me to turn up the radio. Same with asking if daddy could grill supper instead of, "make grill tonight". I'm going to miss that baby talk. You love to sit and do school with me, and this past year you started your first little bits of reading.

Music is a very large part of your life and it is rare for you not to have the music blasting. You love to sing, dance, and perform. Your real love though is gymnastics. You seriously cannot get enough. If you aren't practicing gymnastics (with loud music playing in the background), you are begging to watch Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, or really anyone on YouTube that you want to learn from. You once told me you had to watch the older kids so you can learn what to do for the Olympics one day. The Olympics are your main goal. You ask me weekly when I'm going to sign you up for them, and I explain again it takes lots of practice and determination and that you have to qualify. You are going to have so many voices (one day maybe even your own) telling you that the Olympics aren't possible, that it is too hard, too much, and the competition is too tough. But I won't be that voice. If you believe you will be winning gold medals in the Olympics, I'll believe right along with you (and I'll be there to cheer you on the day you do). You are gifted honey. Never forget that all glory goes to God for making your body strong and able to do what you can do in gymnastics. I've said from day one that God was going to use your adoption and your story for His glory, and perhaps, just maybe, the Olympics will be a part of that story one day.

When you are done with the Olympics, you tell me you will go to school to be a vet. Which makes sense, because other than gymnastics, you love animals. You are often walking around our yard with a chicken in your arms, or lately because we have baby kitties, a kitten in your hands. You are gentle, kind, and compassionate with them, and I have no doubt you will make a wonderful vet one day...after I watch you in the Olympics as you like to remind me. ;)

I've watched you this past year as you've learned to be brave. From losing your birthmama (whom you loved very much) way too soon, to visiting your birth family that you couldn't remember no matter how hard you tried. You were brave. You were strong. I fell in love with you all over again as I saw you as this gift that God literally hand-picked for me. What a gift you have been!

In the darkness of your room tonight, I glanced over at your sweet little face framed with curls, and whispered, "I'm so thankful to God for you spunky girl! You are a treasure. The best thing that God could have ever given me." You turned to me as you heard the tears in my eyes, and in typical Xiomara fashion, you started kissing me all over to make me giggle.

In the words, of your favorite Daniel Tiger, Ugga Mugga my precious Xiomara Marie. I love you! Happy golden birthday!

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