…just what I needed.
Valerie Nicole turns 13 today. Our “Little Middle” is, officially now, a teenager.
Thirteen years ago today, at South Austin Medical Center, Carrie-Anne almost died giving birth to this massive child. Nine-and-a-half pounds and a bowling ball head. Huge blue eyes. Alert. Soaking in all her surroundings even before we could cut the cord. I’ll never forget the way she amazed me in those first couple of minutes of her life. I’d never seen a new-born like this. She looked like she was already two or three months old. And she was acting like it, too. As I held her and sang “Eight Days a Week” and “Love Me Do” to our second daughter, she locked her eyes right into mine. It was almost like she was ready to talk.
Valerie’s a singer. She has a beautiful voice and she loves to sing. She knows all the words to songs she’s only heard once. She sings in her room, in the car, in the shower, everywhere. She’s in the choir at North Ridge Middle School. She sings every year at LTC. I love listening to Valerie sing.
Valerie’s also an adventurer. She’s not afraid of anything except casseroles and vegetables. I have no idea how that girl survives on such a strict diet of grilled-cheese and french fries. An exclusive diet of grilled-cheese and french fries. Valerie’s a joker. She’s hilarious. She keeps us in stitches with her Erkel impersonations and her funny faces. She’s a social butterfly. A social butterfly on steroids. Three out of every four phone calls at our house — incoming and outgoing — are for Valerie. And she’s sensitive. She has a wonderful heart for people and their concerns and needs. She shows the same compassion and attention to Dorothy Allred as she does to Laiklyn Gray. A lot.
And she wants to be baptized. She wants to give her life to our Lord.
Man. How great is that? We’re going to start talking and praying together about that tomorrow.
Valerie’s not huge anymore. That stopped being the case by about the time she turned three. Valerie’s a twig. Earlier this week at the doctor’s office she weighed in at a whopping 81.8 pounds. She’s skinny as a rail. Bony. The girl won’t eat. There’s nothing big about her.
Except her heart. Her heart is huge. And it’s growing. Her heart for little kids. Her heart for those who are hurting. Her heart for people in need. Puppy dogs on Animal Planet. Lonely classmates in the lunchroom. I love what I see at work in her. I’m thankful to our God for what I see developing in her.
Our Father in heaven has huge plans for this girl. He’s got a mission for her and good works already prepared for her that are far beyond anything we’ve thought about yet. I know he does. I can tell. Valerie is special. She’s got gifts. God-given gifts that belong only to her.
We love you, Val-Pal. Happy Birthday!