Thirteen is more than a number today; it’s a life marker.  Our Alex is thirteen.  It’s more words than I can handle… my girl is thirteen.Baby3

It seems like yesterday that we discovered we were pregnant with her.  Those months of her growing inside me was like magic; something out of my control was becoming.  We dreamed of her face and personality during those months.  We thought about names like Casey, Connor, Cameron; we wanted a name that wouldn’t define her as one thing, but something strong & emerging, so Alexandria “Alex” was just right.  With a name like that she wouldn’t be just defined as a girl, an athlete, an artist, smart, cute, funny, or serious.   She could be what she wanted to be with the first identification the world could give her: a name.270604_1940170986307_6024716_n

It seems that God directed us to that more and more as she becomes.  She is a force discovering her voice, and although that can seem messy and confusing at times, it’s a gift.  I am acutely aware that she will never get to do thirteen again.  So, I hope that we do it with grace.  I hope we walk with wonder and courage through it.  I hope we protect her well, simultaneously giving her the armor she needs to slay the junk life will throw at her.  May she know that she is always loved, be brave in vulnerability, and embrace the journey she’s on.      1374939_10205209073842345_2291896508917835905_n

Here are some memories we have of Alex so far:217295_201081796592642_7669428_n

  1.  Bringing her home from the hospital, and Charlie (our dog) climbing into the car and giving her a big kiss.280472_1940726080184_3687177_o
  2. Her smashing her first birthday cake into her face.  Go big or go home.216460_1045216086576_3472_n
  3. She had tons of friends at preschool and a best friend in our neighborhood whom she played with almost every day.
  4. We went to Maui to visit my dad when she was three years old.  She loved being at the beach and riding with the top down in the jeep.  Because of the time change, she was awake at weird hours.  Steve and I would find her watching Strawberry Shortcake videos in the middle of the night.268920_1938274778903_3920110_n
  5. I used to be the Yearbook Sponsor when I taught at Edgewater High Schoo.  She LOVED being in the yearbook room with all those awesome girls.  I’m so thankful for how they took Alex under their wing.267100_1940165666174_5190839_ofiles001
  6. Moving to Indiana, she bonded with her grandparents.  That was a gift.
  7. Her excitement to bring home her brother was intense, and yet she was so patient.  She told everyone that she was going to be a sister.1003996_10151531259948067_1849929727_n
  8. Our last vacation as a trio was to Bald Head Island.  That was a magical week.  She made friends and played, and we sat back taking in every moment while loving the beauty of that time.  We can’t wait to go back.
  9. Alex was with me when I received the news that TJ passed away.  I know her first brother has a very special place in her heart.  11800184_10206847830177364_5546773256795923740_n126-1
  10. I will never forget seeing her face as Steve, Jesse, and I were walking through the terminal on the day we came home from Ethiopia.  The tears were flowing down her face to get a glimpse of her brother.  We missed her so much during that week.IMG_6324
  11. She and I traveled to Ethiopia two years later.  That was a hard trip for her, but after a few days, she was jumping rope with new friends.  To share and see that with her was an incredible blessing. CRAIG_0116
  12. Alex has more books and journals than I know what to do with.  Seeing her have a passion for reading and creating is exciting.1544315_10206681231405364_3537549746952766788_n547026_482238201810332_242031225_n
  13. Our girl is more than our daughter and Jesse’s sister.  She has discovered the beauty and path of friendship.  This past year has been incredible to see her navigate who she is in the lives of others.  It’s the beginning of her walking on her own two feet in this world.

It’s thirteen.  It’s a box with many bows and knots. It’s what we are still watching her open, and there’s so much more to come.  Amen.








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