"it's the lovelight in her eyes..."*


Look who turned 15 this weekend!

Miss Maddy had a fabulous Saturday birthday: breakfast with some friends after her violin lesson, picnic+pie+presents with family, and then a party extravaganza with more friends (20!) here that night. 

Yep, Maddy's a joy and I feel lucky to know her and love her and mother her. She's one of those souls that came to earth already wise, curious, and open-hearted. One night when she was barely three, the girls were getting ready for bed. I asked them what they wanted to do for their last activity before bed. Read a book? Tell stories? Little Maddy piped up "I know! Let's talk about our feelings!" It cracked us up but it is very much who Maddy is: observant and sensitive and aware of everyone's feelings.

It's not that she's perfect or doesn't have struggles (remember this?) but she bravely lets herself feel the difficult emotions (like her occasional bouts with anxiety or sadness) or acknowledge whatever challenge she's facing, talks about and works through it, and is stronger and more compassionate for the struggle. 

{Brag alert.} I forgot to mention this earlier this year but maybe it's a good time to say it today. For posterity, right? {Feel free to skip; I'll never know.} At the end of the school year, the faculty members of her school select a student who has made outstanding contributions in the areas of the school values: service, leadership, character, and loyalty. Maddy received the award this year and here is part of the tribute one of her teachers wrote--he even was a bit verklempt as he read it out loud:

In the classroom, all of her teachers past and present describe her as a student who makes positive connections with students and teachers alike. She can always be counted on to do the right thing and she puts others before herself. Beyond the classroom, as a member of Student Leadership, she has been a leader of leaders. The faculty advisor describes her as "one who knows how to lead in a gentle way." As a member of the Model United Nations team her diplomatic skills are exemplary. These skills were clearly apparent as she carried herself as an ambassador would, admirably representing [our town] on the middle school trip to China. She has been integral in organizing and presiding over many of our student assemblies, including this one we are enjoying today. 

 She's a keeper.

*"it's the lovelight in your eyes where'ere you go" is the final line of one of our family's traditional birthday songs. We're the third generation to sing this particular string of 6-7 songs before the candles are blown out and the kids hold us to it every birthday (even if we do sometimes forget some of the words and make up our own).