Its an entire month after your birthday, thanks to travel, sickness, travel and well, just plain life, I broke tradition. I went back and forth on if I should write this since I was so behind, but then I thought you might actually laugh one day about the crazy family you were born into and totally understand.
It an understatement when people say that you look like me. I have lost track of the times people have called you “little Sarah”. Your big dark brown eyes, your brown skin that is darker than mine…which you love to point out and your matter of fact statements are dead give-aways to you being my mini.
One of my favorite memories of our recent trip to Arizona to see family, showed me yet again that maternal instincts in you are strong. After a few days of Veil throwing a fit at stores and various places, you waited until we were alone and pulled me aside and told me, “tomorrow we need to put Veil on a schedule. She is getting up to early, so after lunch we need to have her take a nap. We will all get out of the pool, so she won’t get mad and have her nap so she isn’t so grumpy”. I was holding back a smile the whole time as I realized that you were no longer in agreement with my parenting skills. I smiled even more when I recalled a time that my mom told me that even at a young age I would parent my sisters. Telling them when they were walking too far ahead of me in public places.
When it was time for you and Veil to get your long awaited “real big girl pedicures”, you patiently waited your turn. Offering up the next available chair to your little sister and pumped her up when it came time for her turn. I think you get joy out of watching someone you love get loved on, I can totally relate to that.
But a memory that I hope I forever remember is the one of the big shopping day. We took you and your siblings to Arizona Mills Mall, a big mall to go back to school shopping. It was hours of going from one to store to the next as your older siblings tried on their piles of clothes. I sat down to rest my tired legs and you came and stood right next to me, leaned in and made sure we were touching. You didn’t say anything, but needless to say we were so close that we were breathing each other’s air. When I turned to you and asked “do you need something?” with a smile on my face, you immediately said “No” but smiled back and chuckled to yourself. Your sisters asked “what are you guys laughing at?”. You responded “nothing…you wouldn’t understand”. I get you boo, physical touch is so important to you. You are always in a lap, have your arms around someone, give the biggest hugs and playfully nudge people when you want attention.
What I hope never changes in you is your JOY. You look for it, you believe that it is possible to exist in the world. I often find you laughing to yourself and baby girl, it makes my heart soar.
In a world where people are so quick to take offense with others, where it’s a “me first” or “if you don’t support me than you are the enemy”, you Boo, you don’t buy into that.
I have seen childish fights try to lure you in and you don’t bite. You don’t pick a side. You don’t fight back with the strength that we all know you have. You don’t belittle. What you do, is you love, you are matter of fact with your explanation and you often say “come on, let’s just go play”.
Boo thanks for teaching me that life is too short to get caught up in the weeds. Thanks for bringing the joy when you see those around you need it. Thanks for making sure I don’t let Veil get away with everything as the baby of the family and instead ensure she has structure. Thanks for being so giving of your heart. Watching you love to serve and be the first to do it is really humbling. Your soccer coach told me recently that you stayed back to haul things from the car to the field, while your team mates ran off and you chatted with her along the way. Deep down, I know you are an old soul, just like your momma.
Having a soccer coach come and ask us if it was ok that they call you “boo” made us and the other parents laugh. When we said “yes”, the coach then informed us that you said “will you call me boo, since you can’t say my name right?”. That’s my girl, saying things plain and simple…
I can’t believe that you are 8 years old. I never knew how much I wanted you until the dark clouds came and then we were given a rainbow, you, my sweet girl.
I pray a blessing over you this coming year. I pray that God will protect that bottle of JOY you always have on reserve for others when they are running low. I pray that you continue to see the needs of others and don’t find it to be a burden, but instead a gift to love them well. I pray that your need to be touched, held, cuddled and hugged is always met in your daddy’s, momma’s and naani’s arms. I hope that when hard things come you way you continue to choose to laugh. And more importantly, I hope you fulfill your dream of moving to Hawaii, because as you said “I am going to live in Hawaii, so that you will come and take care of my children”.
Happy birthday Ya’el Ariel Ruth, our boo