Be wild and free!
Last night, Dad and I went to the store to get the one last piece of your gift for today. I won’t say that the ceiling of the Wal-mart split open and choirs of angels illuminated the path, but what transpired was about as close to that as possible. Rather than our eyes glossing over after reading every card on the shelf, the very first card was the absolute perfect one.
Needless to say we were stunned that it was perfectly fitting.
We never expected having a daughter to be all ruffles and lace.
Good thing. Because what we got was DYNAMITE in a dress – when we could get you to wear one.
And when we weren’t praying for your survival, we were glad to see you growing up strong and confident.
From the moment you arrived in the world, you have always traveled your own way. I think your Dad’s declaration that there would not and I quote, “NOT BE A CLOSET FULL OF PINK DRESSES” the day we you were born was just the start of that fiercely independent streak. After fighting to live on day one, you have proven to be a tower of strength ever since.
I am going to tell you something that I have never told you before about raising a strong, independent, and in charge girl. Not everyone appreciates parents who do. I distinctly remember some friends coming to visit when you were about six months old. They had a son and a daughter the same ages as Reed and Sawyer. Life is too short to deal with “friends” who constantly judge your parenting. After spending the weekend together, we discovered they were raising their children to sit quietly and observe the world, while we were raising explorers and adventurers. As they packed up to leave and said their good-byes, they just couldn’t leave it alone. Their parting words were, “Oh good luck to you Erin. You are going to need it!”
We never spoke to them again because I was flabbergasted and shocked and appalled. Secretly I made a promise to you on that day that you could be as wild and free as you wanted and even though your closet has never been full of dresses that you could become whoever God designed you to be.
There were days when I had to hold my breath.
That promise meant there were bumps and bruises because you had to experience the world your way. And while your knees were often skinned up, mine were often on the floor praying God would guide your steps.
But the funny thing about raising tough-spirited girls is that along the way with all the rough and tumble most develop hearts for injustice and the courage to be the change needed in the world. More than once, I have seen you speak up when someone has been slighted, overlooked, or left out. And that takes guts.
Recently I watched as our whole church was stirred to action because of something God placed on your heart. Think about that for a moment. As a teenager, your heart led a ministry to blossom and God blessed us all for it. Don’t ever diminish the greatness God has in store for you.
I don’t know when I recognized that the promise I made to you all those years ago was playing out in living color. But one day I realized that you were the embodiment of one of my favorite quotes.
Well-behaved women seldom make history. ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Keep being uniquely you and together with God’s help I know you will make amazing things happen. Be fierce and courageous, never forgetting that you are made of the incredible stardust that created the stars throughout the heavens. And just like the nuclear explosions that created their existence, your strength and dignity and faith will change the universe.
Happy 17th Birthday to you, my wild and brave warrior!