The Little Middle

ValValerie Nicole is 11 years old today. And she wants a lizard.

When Valerie was born to us early in the afternoon of January 24, 1997 the first thing that caught our attention was how huge she was. No exaggeration. I mean huge. She weighed nine pounds, five ounces. Huge. All that evening and the next two days doctors and nurses and other patients and visitors would knock on Carrie-Anne’s hospital room door wanting to know if they could come in and see that baby that weighed 9,5. (It’s funny because today she’s so skinny I call her ‘Twig.”)

ValW/FishIt was like Valerie was already a couple of weeks old when she came out. The very first moment I held her in my arms and talked to her and told her how beautiful she was, her eyes met mine and locked in. It was like she was truly paying attention to me, maybe even contemplating me. Possibly, even then, considering how she would manipulate me into giving her everything she ever wanted. She looked around the room as I held her in that first couple of minutes, taking it all in. It was really quite remarkable. She didn’t cry. She didn’t thrash around. I half-expected her to begin talking to me. It was strange.

And since that moment, Valerie’s always been the child who wants to see everything, do everything, and know everything. She’s always sat sideways in the car. Always. Still does. Staring out at the world as it goes by, taking it all in. She was four years old when I drove her to day school at the Mesquite Church when, totally out of the blue, she asked me, “If the world is round, why is that line straight?” She was talking about the distant horizon. I had no answer.

Val&Dog ColonialPal CottonCandy 

Valerie is our adventurer. She’s our explorer. Whitney wants to go to ballgames. Carley wants to visit the zoo. Valerie Valwants to spend the day at a cave in Central Texas or out in the woods. She wants to go where nobody else goes and do things she’s never done before. Except for vegetables and casseroles, she’s open to trying anything once.

She’s beautiful. She’s funny. She’s smart. She has a gorgeous voice and I love to hear her sing. She memorizes words to songs she’s only heard once. She dances in front of her mirror to “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” and throws the football with the boy across the street. She makes friends with everybody. She’s considerate and kind to others. She never stops reading.

And she wants a lizard.

We’re so proud of Val-Pal. Our God has blessed us with this big-eyed gal who laughs at everything and pretends to know Swingingkarate. There’s no limit to her potential. By the grace of our Father she truly can do anything she wants, she really can have anything she wants. I know our Lord has huge plans for her. I can’t wait to see how he’s going to use her to bless his Kingdom.

I love you, Val. Happy Birthday, sweetie.

I don’t know about that lizard.



  1. Mel

    Bearded dragons are becoming the most popular exotic pet to have in the 21st century! They are very interactive and love attention from humans. Bearded dragons are great pets for adults or children, and are often used in schools as class pets. A Bearded dragon takes up much less space than a dog or cat and is much less messy. Have a look around and see what everyone is raving about!

  2. Jenn

    Tell her that she can dogsit our dog for a few days and she might change her mind. Although I doubt that ya’ll want our little dog to visit your house while she decides! Happy Birthday Valerie!! We are so glad to be your teachers, schoolmates and neighbor!!

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