My sweet LilyBug,
You started this year in 2nd grade, in Raleigh, North Carolina. And now here you are, 9-years-old, in Year 4, in Sydney, Australia. To say that you've grown and changed this past year would be quite the understatement.
It's been an interesting year, a challenging year, and an amazing year. And through it all you have smiled, you have laughed, you have made memories, and you have bloomed. Mommy & Daddy are so proud of you!
We spent the first few months of this year trying to fit in all of our favorites and "lasts", filling up our memories of home. There were your last few days at York Elementary, a place that gave you the best beginning to your education I could imagine. A place where you grew and learned and developed confidence and discipline, and where you made friends and memories.
And then we started on the most epic summer of all time!!!
First, a trip to the American Girl Store with Grammy.
Then, a trip to Disney World with Grammy & Bumpa, Auntie, Grandpa Charlie, Auntie Melissa, Uncle Eric and Evan & Megan.
More fun was packed into these 3 days than I thought possible.
We took one last trip to the beach with ALL the cousins!
And we had a whole fabulous summer at the pool, with our friends and Auntie!
We ended it all with an incredible going away party with our friends in Raleigh who have become a family to us.
And then it was moving day... Time to say good bye to the only home you've ever known.
And to fly away...
And oh, what an amazing job you've done. You have handled these enormous changes with so much grace, and such strength. You've continued to look at this as one big adventure, and to always find the bright side. Even if that meant being excited about "camping out" in your new room while we waited for our furniture to arrive.
Or riding public transit to school while Mommy was too scared to learn to drive on the other side of the road.
You have taken every challenge thrown at you this year and just figured it out. You've made new friends.
Tried new things.
Where you learned that you love to snorkel!
You handled a summer-time Christmas, away from home and family, with your typical open-heart and joy.
It hasn't always been easy. You've been homesick and sad sometimes too. But I am amazed at your ability to wake up every day and just start over. You still greet every day with a smile and with the hope that it could be the best day ever. Your optimism and joy make me smile every day.
I read somewhere recently that this is our "halftime" ... Because we're halfway through our time with you living at home. And that is heartbreaking. And, honestly, unbelievable, because really, how did NINE years go by so fast?!?! But if the happiness and hope and love you've brought to our lives these past nine years, and this year especially, are an indication of what the future holds, then I look forward to the next nine.
You continue to teach me, and challenge me, and inspire me every single day. I am so incredibly proud to be your Mommy. I am so thankful for you... our sweet, loving, amazing, clever, funny, adventurous, full-of-awesome little book-worm! You are the best Valentine anyone ever got.
So, my birthday wish to you this year is that all YOUR wishes come true. Because you deserve it.
Happy Birthday, Lily!
I love you to the moon and back.