I think if there's any occasion worth busting out the ol' blog, it's our little one's Sweet Sixteen.
Sixteen years ago this afternoon, on a sweltering 100-degree day, in a community hospital in small-town Montana, our little bundle of spunk entered the world. Never before had we known the kind of love that overwhelmed us when we first held her in our arms and kissed her sweet little face.
The first thought that crossed my labor-exhausted brain? "Wow, she looks just like my Great-Grandma Blackburn."
We had no way of knowing who this little person was -- or whom she would become. But over these past 16 years, we've sure had fun figuring it out!
Eventually she'd collect a smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks ... and eventually those freckles would fade. (Under makeup, perhaps? Who knows?)
Over time, she'd learn to love reading, and she'd gobble up books from our local library -- though stubbornly and steadfastly refusing summer after summer to read my recommendations of "Anne of Green Gables" or "Gone With the Wind."
She'd learn to love all kinds of music -- and learn to enjoy making music even more.
She'd make friends with every dog she'd ever meet, especially her own.
She'd learn to enjoy traveling and seeing new places (27 states so far) and crave an adventurous road trip. But she'd also learn that there's no place like home.
She'd get into trouble at school almost EVERY DAY for talking too much.
When she was 10, we'd notice for the first time that her thumbs are noticeably different from each other -- one looks like mine, and the other looks like Ryan's. And we'd feel guilty for not ever having noticed that before.
She'd always be very, very slow in getting ready each day (that's why I have time to write this now, actually). She's just livin' life at her own pace, "Ryley-style," with Korean pop music or Broadway tunes blasting in the background. She insists that music doesn't slow her down, but we all know the truth.😉
Speaking of winking? That's something Ryley's never been able to do with any kind of smoothness.
German food, like sauerkraut, is her fave; and she prefers fruity desserts to chocolate.
Puppets freak her out. But she loves puns. Ever want to make her laugh? Work a pun into your sentence.
She's obsessed with checking expiration dates on food items and is horrified to find expired foods in our fridge or pantry from time to time.
Even at 16, she has a soft spot in her heart for mermaids, balloons, bubbles, and all things fantastical. But at the same time, she can be very practical and pragmatic and extremely black and white.
Her bossiness and competitive nature can be off-putting sometimes (something she's working on!), but we are confident that her determination will take her far in life.
Every movie she sees is her new favorite. She greets every new thing with loads of enthusiasm.
And when she wants something from us, she's super-pushy -- campaigning and squawking and chipping and poking until we either give in or, more likely, explode in parental "rage." #honesty
Museums will always hold a very special place in her heart. They're where she and her daddy like to spend their Ry days. Marvel movies, too.
This lovely young woman is an absolute joy to raise. She's funny and smart and witty and -- best of all -- tender, compassionate, and loving.
This afternoon, we stopped by a coffee shop, and an elderly man was sitting out front. He asked if we had 75 cents for the bus fare. I told him I didn't have any change, and we walked on. While we stood in line, I could tell something was bothering Ryley.
Come to find out, she knew she had cash in the car, and she had been mulling that man's request over and over in her head. She knew what she had to do, so she went and did it. On her birthday. Handed the man a $1 bill while Ryan watched from our nearby car.
That's what I'm most thankful for -- a daughter who, though still growing in her faith, hears the voice of the Holy Spirit and doesn't hesitate to do what's right. I pray that only gets stronger in these next few years, as she makes tough decisions regarding college and course of study and friends and roommates and relationships. It won't be easy; it's tougher to be a young adult than it's ever been. But with Jesus living in her heart, she's going to be just fine.
Happy sweet 16, my lovely Ryley. We love you with all our hearts.
3 days ago