Two months ago you turned eleven years old. I've gone to write this blog post many times and have been stuck; not because there aren't a million great things to say about you, but because you are one of life's great treasures that I feel will be lost in mere words. Still, words are important, so I will attempt to capture at least some of who you are. You turned eleven, but truly it feels like you are twenty some days. I don't mean to suggest you are a child who likes to act too grown up for your age, but rather that you possess great wisdom and maturity. You have an amazing ability to be mature, yet still maintain imaginative play and a light hearted nature. You are a very quiet child and prefer to keep your deep thoughts to yourself. You are exceptionally diligent in work and school and like nothing better than to have a list in which to check things off.
This year you started to be a "mommy's helper" for several families. It's hard for me to let you go do this work when I feel like you do so much of it at home already, but you beg to go and are always such a help to those you serve. Often times, moms will compliment you in amazement on how well you folded all their laundry, did their dishes or mopped their floor. When I speak to my friends, they will often comment on how much easier their life would be if they "just had an Annabelle!"
More than anything, I am proud to watch the progress in character you have made and strive for every day. Just the other day a friend was lamenting about the tantrums her child is currently struggling with. I responded by saying, "You should have seen the tantrums Annabelle used to throw. They were epic!" The friend was aghast, "Annabelle!!! No! She's so calm and composed!" I wish I could say this was due to some magical parenting trick, but it is mostly due to your hard work and determination to be a holy and Godly woman. I have literally watched you want to lose your self control and go flying off the wall with emotion, and then slowly gather yourself, take a breath and choose the better road. I have watched you pick up your sister's clothes for the millionth time and want to scream in annoyance, but gather your patience and act in kindness instead. I watch you everyday treat Miriam with the sweetest and most loving kindness as if she were the most precious child on earth. I watch you in mass, almost daily, with your book full of devotional prayers as you reverently and consistently try to grow closer to Our Lord. I watch you in complete awe and wonder what I ever did to deserve a daughter like you. You are incredibly beautiful on the inside and out.
I look forward to watching you grow and change in these coming years of adolescents. I hope and pray to be an example to you of a Godly woman. I love you, Annabelle and am so proud to be your mother.