Oh MG.

Eleven.

In all of my clichéd “ohmygosh, my baby girl is growing up” nostalgia, I’ve found myself watching old videos of you all weekend, and I just cannot kick the thought that YOU ARE THE SAME.  That personality that charmed so many, humored all, exhausted me, and almost got you kicked out of preschool (PTL you dropped the whole biting-your-friends habit) as a two year old is still charming, humoring… (and sometimes exhausting)… us all today.  Same.  But in this ever-evolving, maturing, so-dang-exciting-to-watch kind of way. 

Mary Grace, while 2020 has been anything-but-great for most of the world, your eleventh year has been pretty stellar for you.  Your self-motivated, go get ‘em tendencies have allowed you to thrive in distance learning.  You’ve had six whole months of sleeping in as late as your bed-loving self desired.  (How I ended up with a kid who can sleep until 11 in the am boggles my sleep-deprived mind.)  You’ve gained a few new friends-turned-family members here in Malawi, just adding to the global community of people who love you and will forever have your back.  And perhaps the latest and greatest news of your 11th year of life?  All of your dreams were finally realized when you finally, at long last, brought home your VERY OWN BUNNY.  After a year of daily pleading and prodding and “I DO NOT CARE IF YOU ARE ALLERGIC, MOMMMM”ing, this is what dreams are made of, man.

That’s the thing with you, MG.  You’re just so persistent.  Determined.  Strong-willed.  Bold.  Passionate.  Unrelenting, unyielding, undeterred.  Sometimes the world doesn’t know what to do with girls like that. With women like that. But they better figure it out REAL QUICK because you’re not stopping any time soon.  Please, Mary Grace.  Don’t stop any time soon.

You have so much to offer this world with that fire of yours.  I see it in your eyes and hear it in the indignant tone of your voice when you hear about injustice.  “That’s just… that’s just NOT OKAY,” you’ll declare. Sometimes concerning your own plight. Sometimes concerning others. Always, always with an unyielding determination to do what it takes to right whatever it is that has been wronged.

Man do I pray that these declarations and convictions spill out into the rest of your life for the rest of your years as you love God and love others wildly.  Passionately.  Intentionally.

Like I said, so much is the same. You still love ninjas.  You still claim a deep allegiance to Slytherin.  You and Elizabeth are still thick as thieves and best friends for life.  And you still love insects, your “Baby Deluga,” and shot glasses more than I can even comprehend to be possible.

You still DISLIKE mornings. And brushing your hair. A lot.

You’re obsessed with Indian food and bagels.  At present, you wear a different thrifted soccer jersey every day without fail.  You love documentaries and building fires and the band AJR.  And when you grow up, you want to be a defense attorney in NYC.  YOU ARE JUST SO COOL, MARY GRACE.

So, yeah. At face value, so much remains the same. But with every passing year, you are becoming more and more settled in who you are. In who God created you to be. I don’t see you looking to your right and your left as you go about your days. Striving. Comparing. What I see is a tiny little force to be reckoned with- head down, charging full-steam ahead. Gettin’ after it. Whatever “it” is that day.

MG, being your mom is a trip. One of the greatest adventures of my life for sure. And through all of the laughter and between all(!) of the demands that sound a lot like, “No, mom. MOM. Here’s the thing… just hear me out. LISTEN TO MY CASE,” I am insanely proud of who you are and who you’re becoming.

You keep speaking up, and we’ll keep listening. (Though you can probably turn your negotiations for a cat down a notch. NOT. HAPPENING.) (Says your mom who maintained that a rabbit was not happening either. JOKE IS ALWAYS ON ME.)

Happy 11th, MG!! We love you!

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