Happy 8th Birthday, Ruby!

Ruby,

Today, on your eighth birthday, I find myself uncharacteristically at a loss for words. It's not that I don't have anything to say. It's just that, whatever I say, I don't think you'll believe me. Despite the fact that you're still a FULL five years away from your teens, I see them creeping into your regular everyday eight-year-old existence.

A boy held your hand on the way back from the nurse's office last week. You flushed from your toenails to your ponytail when your little brother filled me in. So, see what I mean? It's coming. And I'm feeling surprisingly okay about it all, except for this:

I see you becoming more self-aware, more self-conscious. 

And I want, desperately, for you to be able to see how incredible you are...I want, more than anything, for you to be able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses and see that your strengths far outweigh your weaknesses.

So I try to tell you, as often as seems genuine, that you are the most incredible little girl I've ever known. Seriously.

I could write a thousand stories, but the two that stick out the most to me at this particular moments are these:

You filled out your profile for our foster care home study the other day. One question asked what you'd like a social worker to tell a potential child about our family. You answered, "We will not hurt them, and we will take good care of them. We will love them, and we will not try to replace their parents." The very next question asked what you would like to know about a potential child. You answered, "Are they a boy or girl? How old are they? And how do they feel, so I can treat them better?" There were a dozen other questions, and, honestly, I think you have a better grasp on how to care for foster kids than 95% of the adults out there.

Your compassionate heart and your desire to care for others inspires me, and I can't wait to watch you continue to live and love in your own amazing way.

During one of our recent snow days, you asked if you could eat your lunch in your room. I brought it in and asked why you wanted to eat in your room. You had recently cleaned it out, and you responded that you were just enjoying reading and playing in your clean room. We talked more about your room and how we might change it to suit you better. I asked if you played with all your toys or if we might be able to give some of them away. 

Now, before I proceed with the story, I need to give you a bit of background. At this point in your life, these are the toys you own:

2 Dolls
1 Dollbed
1 Small Box of Doll Clothes
1 Small Box of Dress Up Clothes
1 Nerf Gun and Bullets
1 Nerf Bow and Bullets
1 Very Small Box of Barbies and Barbie Clothes
2 Keepsake Figurine Sets from Disney World
1 Small Box of Craft and Art Supplies

I'm not exagerating. That is every single play thing you possess. 

You turned to look me square in the face with an expression that very clearly said, "What do you want from me, woman? I have nothing left to give!"

I started giggling, and then you did, too.

"Mom," you said. "I don't have that many toys! I play with everything in my room a lot!"

Still laughing, I replied, "Yes, I know. I'm sorry. I forget how little you and Burke have, because you're always playing so much."

"Yeah," you said with a smile, "I don't have a lot, but I've got everything I need."

And that's all I need to say about you, Ruby. You are one of the greatest kids in the entire world. I'm absolutely certain of it. God has amazing things in store for you, and I am jazzed about the fact that I get to be a front-row witness of it all.

I love you, kid. You made me a mom, and, everyday, you're making me a better person. I thank God for you.

Happiest of Birthdays, Ruby Liz. You're the bee's knees!

Love. Always!
~Your Momma