Birthdays and Besøgende

Cliché, I know – but truly, time does go so fast. It is hard to believe that our first-born turned 7-years-old a few weeks ago. April is always a busy month for us and this year was no exception. Yet, I do try to take a moment to pause and marvel at how this tiny baby developed into this lovely young girl.

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It just so happened that as her birthday approached, we kept seeing posters for a circus in town. Now, this animal loving girl was a bit torn. One moment she would be begging us to get tickets and the next she would ask “does this circus treats the animals well?” After a lot of discussions about it, she finally came to me and said, “Mom, I heard on Animal Planet that circuses are nice to animals now and I really want to go to one…just once in my life…PLEASE!!”. So a week before her birthday we surprised her with tickets, an hour before we needed to leave for the show.

This was your quintessential circus…ring master, clowns, juggling, death-defying acts…and yes, animals. Lots of big animals. We even rode an elephant. Oh, my!

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This lucky birthday girl also had her cousins in town to celebrate! It was such a special week with my sister and my nieces here. They recently moved from Pennsylvania to the UK. It is remarkable that we both had to move abroad to actually be closer in distance.

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This year, she was once again surrounded by people who love her. Last year for her birthday we were in Seattle, also surrounded by family and friends, yet there was so much uncertainty in her world. She went along for the ride as our family figured out this new place we called home. Sometimes fun and exciting and sometimes scary and frustrating…but she always powered through. I guess that is all I can wish for her. That she always has the power to push through difficult situations and to look for the good in everything and everyone. At 7 years old, she still has so many little-kid-joys to take advantage of and look forward to. At the same time, independence is blossoming and she gets regular doses of “real life” these days. There are arguments on the playground with friends, ballet recitals to memorize – and nerves, of being on a big stage, to deal with; there is the disappointment of not getting all your spelling words right and constantly being asked to “hold your pencil correctly”; she has chores that are expected of her around the house and is starting to manage an allowance and tooth fairy money. But she’s getting there…slowly. Does she still burst into tears like a two-year-old sometimes? Yes. (That’s normal, right?) But the more I watch her, the more I realize that she is strong. Things will get thrown at her in the future that seem big and frightful, mean and nasty, sad and discouraging. I hope that in the face of these lessons, she will be brave and strong and offer kindness and encouragement. In the meantime, we will play and explore, laugh and learn. First born children have a huge responsibility that often gets over looked. They teach their parents how to be parents. They also teach us how to love – from the moment they enter the world, we are forever changed.

Her Dad and I are proud to be the parents of this dazzling little ray of sunshine, who bring so much love and joy to our lives every day.

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