Caroline, I usually work on these birthday letters for a few days, at least. This one I'm writing after you're in bed on your birthday. I have been thinking about what you might want to remember about this year and what I want to tell you. Some of this year has been heavy and some has been silly and I just wasn't sure what to say.
You summed up your heart when I was putting you to bed tonight. You have been anticipating your birthday presents for weeks. There has been much discussion about what you wanted and what you might get. At one point, you made a schedule for the day of when you would open gifts/eat cake, etc.
For your birthday party, you asked that your whole family come over and swim.
You asked to make Sea Turtle cupcakes and go to dinner together.
Done and done.
You asked for more presents than any child might get in their lifetime so we picked what we thought you would enjoy the most and hoped you were pleased.
You were rollerblading through the kitchen in your jammies so I think at least some of it was a hit.
I was putting you to bed and we were talking all about your day and going through the details you wanted to remember. When I asked you what your favorite present was you didn't even pause before saying "My WHOLE family being together!" with a huge smile on your face. You have such a big heart!! When you talk about your brothers, you mean all of them. The ones that live with you and the ones that don't. When you say your family, you include the Goolsby's and non-Goolsby's equally.
You were presented some challenging circumstances and have chosen to embrace it as more people to love. As you grow, your relationships are changing with your siblings but they are not weakened. Just different. They are all evolving and will continue to do so. What's so awesome is that God placed these children in families that give you room to explore what those relationships will look like and have committed to keeping those bonds intact. When you want a party with your siblings, it is a guarantee that they will ALL be there. One mom is having BACK SURGERY at 7:30 am tomorrow and they still showed up for the whole thing.
That has been on theme of your year this year, I think. God's provision for you and for our family.
We moved into a new house closer to your new school. The longer we live in this house, the more I love it and see it as a HUGE provision for our family and you especially.
It has a pool. Not only do you love to swim, you are confident in the water. Insecurities you may have on land do not hinder you when we are all swimming together. It's given us an activity to enjoy together in an easy way. It's brought our family closer together.
This is also a house that is a fresh start for everyone. The night you came home to us, you slept in what was, at that time, Harris' room. It had boy paint colors, boy bedding, and his name on the wall. It became your room, with paint colors you picked and your name on the wall but you sometimes referred to it as Harris' old room. This room, in our new house, is YOURS. You picked it. It has two closets, a full length mirror, and you've only ever known it as your own.
One of the greatest things about this new house is our sweet neighbor! She's about your age and you two are good friends. You play together beautifully and she seems to be as eager for a playmate as you are. You love playing with your brothers and get along well but sometimes you just want a girl! Caroline, I so hope that you look back on this sweet season of your friendship with our neighbor and see that as God's blessing for you.
Here you are (with Harris) way past your bedtimes, rocking glow sticks in the pool. You all had so much fun together!
Two people this summer, who did not know each other, commented on your "servant's heart." You absolutely do have that. You are the FIRST to offer to help. You see needs others don't and are delighted to meet them. It is not burdensome to you nor are you doing it to curry favor. You just want to help. You are a friend to all and have a gift for seeing those on the fringes and offering comfort and help. You've been through trials, certainly, but it is already becoming evident how God is using that to bless others around you.
My sweet girl, I am so honored to be your mom and I can't imagine our family without you. Hayes and I were discussing things that were nice the other day. I went first and named popsicles as something nice to have. Hayes said "Caroline is nice!" You are such a good sister to the boys and meet them where they are, accepting the crazy. You embrace daddy and I as your parents, as imprefectly as we do it. I just love getting to be your mom. You are the sweetest!
Happy birthday, precious girl!