Today is Sloane's twelfth birthday, and it has been perfect. We got up early and snuggled and laughed and played. Then, I ran the clean up crew while she baked cupcakes for her guests. Her best girlfriends came over this afternoon for a birthday sleepover. My parents came for the dinner (beef ribs) Jeffrey had been cooking all day long. After dinner and presents and cupcakes, we all played Bananagrams for at least an hour. Now the girls are in the sparkle room under a canopy of crepe paper and balloons. The house is clean again and the adults are so tired. It's a lot of work having this much fun, you know. What I really want is my bed, but before I do, I want to take an accounting.
As I've done every birthday of her life (five of them right here on this blog), it's time to be still. Time to remember. Time to try and capture a little bit of eleven to save, to pull out later and smile over.
Sloane, at elevenWhat I want to remember about eleven...
- the way Sloane is more than comfortable in the woods; she comes alive there. The woods are her soul place.
- how she has become a real baker this year. She takes on more and more sophisticated recipes and does them with growing speed and independence. Her rain forest cupcakes are the most delicious I've ever eaten.
- how proud Sloane was when she shot her first turkey and the way we are saving it to eat when Papa and Grandma get here.
- her daily pleasure in band and in learning to play the clarinet.
- her growing poise and confidence as people begin to treat her as a young adult.
- the way she still sleeps with Gareth every night.
- the tug on my heart when she quit sleeping with any other stuffie.
- the sweet way she asked for my permission before putting her American Girl dolls into her closet.
- the way she doesn't often need my help with tasks, but always loves my company.
- her giddy exhaustion when she got home from camp.
- the fact that her Daddy is still the best man, and best cook, she's ever known.
- her quiet contentment outdoors. (see above)
- her kindness and the way other adults tell me she treats her peers with respect and compassion.
- her excellent gift for friendship. Like giving up her deer hunting trip because it was more important to attend her best friend's birthday party.
- the way she quickly forgives and so easily lets go of hurts.
- her pure pleasure in swimming and her loyalty to her original swim team. Plus, all her wins at the meets.
- the way she talks more and more like a teenager: What up, Mom?
- her joy at playing with her cousins this summer.
- her first reading of Ender's Game, and that she loved it.
- the way she has really begun to take care of her skin and hair and nails.
- watching she and her best friends worship and pray at Winter Jam.
- her love of youth group and the way she answers, "prayer time" to my weekly question, "What was the best thing about youth group tonight?"
I have been Sloane's mother for 4,382 days. That's an awfully big number for time that feels as though it took no more than a few weeks to pass. The days rush on and on and I try to catch just a little bit of it here. I want to, not just know, but say, that Sloane has brought so much joy into my life. She has made each and every day for 12 years sparkle and shine for her Daddy and I. We are so blessed. Happy birthday, darling girl.