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The Irony of it all...

Today this beautiful girl turns 13. #

And so Caroline, this is to you.

For the last week we have logged 2100 miles in a rented blue minivan. A van that had child safety locks on only your door. So every time you wanted to exit the minivan, I had to open the door for you. Seriously drove you crazy. For the life of us we couldn’t figure out how to take the child safety lock off your door. And so each time, you would say…“MOM..can you open the door for me?” “Mom, let me out!” and for one glorious week you were locked in, saved only by me opening the door from the outside to free you.

And then, literally minutes before the clock struck midnight and you were were officially a teenager, we arrived back home. And it was time to trade the blue minivan back in for our own car, with doors you can open on your own.

And the irony wasn’t lost on me. The irony that for 13 years we have loved you and protected you. Girl, how we have loved you. Loved you from the second they said…“it’s a girl!” Actually it was even before that. And protected you, yes, that too.

But you are growing up and it’s time you begin opening some of those doors on your own now. There is more freedom in being older but with that comes more responsibility.

And make no mistake…dad and I are still driving the car, dad and I can still lock the doors, but at the same time, we want you to have the freedom to go out the door and find your place in this world.

You will always have a special place in our family. You were our first miracle. You’ve been kind of like our research project. And like any project, there are good days and bad. Progress and mistakes. Joy in the journey.

And so here you are…transitioning from the child locks to being a teenager. I know some people don’t like the word teenager. They prefer to say instead, “young adult.” I don’t mind teenager though (except that it makes my heart skip a beat thinking you aren’t all babies anymore!). Bring it on.

Let’s see what life has to offer you. Let’s see who you become.

And may you become all that God has intended for you to become. May you never miss the doors He opens for you. May daddy and I have the courage to let you go through the doors.

And so Caroline, that is why I drove you…one last time…in that blue minivan to school today. You got to ride in the front passenger seat this time. You could freely open the door and get out. But please, please don’t forget…there are locks even on the front door. Locks to protect you. And that seat with the door that wouldn’t open…it wasn’t that far behind you. Don’t forget that.

And don’t forget that we love you more than you can understand.

Happy Birthday Sweet Caroline. Happy 13th birthday.

I love you,