In two weeks, Anne graduates from high school, and I can’t believe they plan to give my four-year-old little bug a diploma. Really, where has the time gone? She’ll graduate with honors and attend both Ozark Christian College and Missouri Southern State University in the fall, in a dual degree program where she’ll earn two bachelor’s degrees in five years. Anne will be in the Honors Program at MSSU, she has academic scholarships to both schools, and she received an MSSU music scholarship, too. She was also just named “Senior English Student of the Year”…which is good, because, after college, Anne plans to teach high school English.
Many thanks to Grammar Rock for that.
Andy has repeated for years, “We aren’t raising kids. We’re raising adults.” It’s a wise perspective to have in parenting, but a little hard to hear now as the days at home are few. Anne has been an absolute joy and delight to raise since her arrival on a snowy December day. (Actually, she cried for the first six months of her life…but she’s been delightful since that May.) Anne’s strength has always been her heart. She loves deeply, compassionately. She has always loved beauty, and art, and beautiful art—poetry, music, dance. Anne makes the world a more beautiful place, and the Lord will use her strong heart in big ways, for his glory.
Anne, as you become the adult we had the privilege to raise, here are ten memories about you that I don’t want to forget:
Your little munchkin voice. I can still hear toddler Anne in my mind, and it’s a precious sound. Nathan called you Eeen, and you called him Boy. You also said “yah” instead of “yeah,” and I wondered how I’d mothered a Swedish child.
“Oh, Eeen! You wook byooful!”
“Yah, do, Boy!”
Your artwork. As a child, you drew me pictures nearly every day, with cut grass fringe, soaked in Elmer’s glue, and covered in glitter. I don’t know where most of those pictures are now…but I’m positive the glue is still wet.
You said “Hi” to every single person we passed. At Target, at church, in the airport…you greeted everyone warmly—and kept at it until they responded.
“Hi! Hi! HI, I’M ANNE!”
E-N-N-A. You printed your name—perfectly backwards, right to left—absolutely everywhere, including on walls and furniture.
“Anne, did you write your name on your bed?”
“It’s my letters! A-N-N-E spells me! But my E is quiet.”
Night after night:
“You don’t have to wake us up when you go potty at night, honey. You can just go.”
“But, I just want you to know where I am.”
Your spectacular falls. You inherited this talent from me, and you’ve had some doozies. An incredible backflip out of the swing set on the beach. Falling out of the van onto the garage floor—your thick ponytail saving you from a concussion. Riding your scooter full-speed into an SUV trailer hitch, and flipping over it. And always popping back up with, “IIII’m okay.”
The night you got sick and had to miss a ballet performance. You were heartbroken. You and I stayed home and snuggled. I made up a tune to Numbers 6:24-26 and sang it till you fell asleep. “Sing it again, Mama.” That’s one of my all-time favorite memories with you.
When you read Little Women for the first time, and you came downstairs, nearly in tears.
“Mama! Jo doesn’t love Teddy?!”
“No, honey. She doesn’t.”
“Oh,” you said, choking back a sob. “I just…want her to.”
Sister voices. You and Molly haven’t always loved sharing a bedroom, but I’ve always loved hearing you talk together. The little girl voices, chattering non-stop as you played pretend, and the teenage voices, laughing, singing, arguing, talking late into the night.
The way you looked when you got home from Haiti last year. You were tired, you’d been serving all week and traveling all day…but you were radiant—absolutely shining with God’s love. You love so beautifully.
And to close, here are ten things I want you to know, Anne—ten truths to carry into adulthood, to “always remember and never forget.”
Your mama loves you. No matter what you do or where you go or if you take another spectacular fall…my love for you will never stop or lessen—even a little bit. You are deeply, completely loved. Know that in your marrow and never wonder if it’s true.
God loves you even more than I do. How is that possible? Know that to your core, because knowing God loves you changes everything. His love will give you confidence and joy and freedom and identity and purpose and peace. (Romans 8:35-39)
Hold fast to Jesus. Only Jesus is a sure foundation. Everything and everyone else will fall short. Only he will last and satisfy and fulfill. (John 4:13-14; 6:35, 68-69; 1 Corinthians 3:11)
Hold fast to God’s Word. That’s how you can know him, and how you can discern truth from lies. May Scripture become life to you. Memorize it, live in it, and let it live in you. (Psalm 119:9, 18, 32, 36-37; Jeremiah 15:16; Philippians 2:14-16)
Speaking of Scripture, you, my sweet girl, are clothed with strength and dignity. (Proverbs 31:25)
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
And finally, this gem, which helped us through many mornings together. It may not be biblical, but I think it’s still inspired: You can wear two plains…or you can wear one plain and one fancy…but you can’t wear two fancies. ;)
I love you, Anne Elizabeth.