Today marks one dozen years since the birth of my youngest daughter. Sometimes I'm guilty of whispering in her ear, "I couldn't love anything more than you." or "You're my favorite baby girl." Don't worry, I'm not pulling an Isaac and Rebekah - I say those lines to my other daughter too. And the girls often remind me that Jesus is supposed to be my #1 love. But in the moment, I mean it, I often find myself completely overwhelmed with the love I have for my Jolee girl. She brings an incredible amount of joy and delight to our lives. Her stomping feet, counter-tapping hands, raucous laughter, puppy-crazed energy, singing, dancing, silliness that can make me irritated one moment and inspired the next.
Jolee is a combination of leader and follower, extrovert and introvert, reader and runner, focus and distraction. My adventurous homebody, whiner and go-with-the-flow kind of gal. She can't be put in a box and labeled. She is truly her own person and her personality seems to shift just a quickly as you try and pin her down. With Jolee, you never know what you're going to get (yes, much like Forrest's box of chocolates). Her dynamic personality is one of my favorite things about her. It makes it easy for her to transition from disappointment to elation. This is helpful as a parent when I hurt her feelings or disappoint. It helps her to cope, to release, to forgive. It makes her strong and yet moldable. She isn't a doormat and she won't be fooled. She loves deeply and is a faithful friend.
I want to honor Jolee for who she is today... and that's not easy to describe. I realize she's still knee-deep in the process of figuring out who she is and what she's about. Horse back riding or four-wheeling, this daughter of mine is up for the challenge except when she's too lazy. Do you remember being a 6th grader? Tough stuff. Yet, she breezes through her days with a lightness, clarity, and a love for life that blows me away. Happy Birthday Jolee. Your mama is crazy about you.