This years birthday letter is written by Keith - a rare occurrence! :)
Dear Carli -
When I sat down to think about what I would like to say to you on your 8th birthday, all of my thoughts basically came back to this: I’m incredibly proud of who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and the path that you are on. Parenting is really hard because you spend so much time trying to correct or alter behavior that sometimes there’s not enough time or energy spent celebrating the good things. I guess that’s why we celebrate birthdays, and why I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts. This last summer, especially, was filled with many trials and new, uncomfortable situations, and to watch you shine through all of it has been one of the most amazing blessings of my life. You’ve been pushed and stretched, and I’ve been amazed with how you’ve responded. I’m really thankful for the love that you have for your little brother, and that you and Ava are such good friends. I love your sense of humor and the joy that you display over the things that you love the most. You dream of being a teacher or a waitress, both of which reveal your heart for serving others. I especially love the bond you’ve developed with both of your grandma’s. Your relationships with them are completely different, but they’re both worth more than anything in this world. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching you play softball, and I cherish the time we’ve had together travelling to practices and tournaments.
Many times in the Bible, a character will be introduced by name and what their name means. I would say “This is Carli, which means creative and intelligent.” Through art or other avenues, your creativity shines in everything that you do, and we’re shocked almost every single day at the things you remember and perceive.
Everybody’s life tells a story, and yours is going to be a great one. Your mom and I are blessed to be part of yours, and perhaps more importantly, to have a front row seat for it. My prayer is that you continue to learn and grow in faith and purpose. My promise is that I’ll guide you into and out of situations that make that possible. Your mom and I are an equal mix of excitement at watching you grow, sadness for the days that are gone, and fear about the world you face. Through all of that, we’re extremely proud of who you are, and cherish each day that we get to spend with you. Above all things, I hope that you know that you are loved and will always be loved. Happy 8th Birthday, Carli!
With All My Love,