With apologizes to your brother, you are the child I always wanted.
Don't get me wrong. I adore your brother. He's the funniest little sack of something I've ever met and once he (around age two) stopped hating me and wanting me dead all the time? He was pretty fun. I never, ever thought I wanted a boy so your brother has been, among other things, a really delightful surprise.
I just always wanted a girl.
I always wanted you.
Specifically you, even though I didn't realize it at first. As you've probably already figured out, you've befuddled me for many years.
It's not your fault, honestly. I mistakenly believed that I would have a daughter much like me. A little socially awkward, a little ridiculous. At thirteen I was fat, had a horrible mullet and was completely obsessed with a boy who didn't know I was alive. You, at thirteen, are thin and beautiful with gorgeous hair. Plenty of boys know you are alive, but I don't think it's possible for you to care any less.
You're an unapologetic nerd, love Peter, Paul and Mary, wear your purple glasses with pride, and can make "That's what she said" jokes with the best of them. You make me laugh every day and you have the sweetest, kindest, most generous heart of anyone I know. You are...grace.
I've tried so very hard to explain you so many times and "grace" is the only appropriate descriptor. Grace, by definition:
Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.
A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
I can't think of a more appropriate way to describe you. You are so good, so sweet, and so loving. Even when you disagree, even when you are mad, even when things don't go your way, you are polite, firm, and fair. You have the absolute best of me, and the absolute best of what I wish I could be.
I admire you more than I will ever be able to tell you.
I was not surprised when I got a call from the church telling me that you had sought out the people who would make your baptism happen. They tentatively asked me, "Is this okay with you?", as I suppose most of the time the parents are the ones who make the arrangements. But not for you. Not my daughter. Not the girl who makes up her mind, follows her heart, and, most importantly, follows through.
I got a little choked up when I saw you step into the baptismal with your beloved youth pastor. I got further choked up when I heard your sweet little voice reply that you believed, "Jesus is Lord". You probably didn't hear this, but after you came up from the water and everyone clapped, the pastor said, "Thank God for Girl Child" and I had to wipe my eyes.
Thank God for Girl Child.
He has no idea how much I thank God for you. For God's grace.
Every day of my life.