Hey honey,

It’s early on the morning of your 27th birthday. I woke up thinking about you. Well, you and me, if I’m honest. I can’t really think about your entrance into the world without bringing myself into the equation, because everything changed for me that day. I was finally a mother; something I’d always wanted to be, and in just a few hours (thank you for that!), your dad and I went from being a duo to a trio.

I couldn’t have been any happier.

You were supposed to have been born on your Aunt Monique’s birthday, but you decided to put it off for a full five days and increase my anticipation (and discomfort!). However, once you arrived, you were pretty easygoing. Your smile blew everyone away, revealing every tooth in your head when you eventually got some.

You loved to be outside. You were fascinated with every bug and butterfly, but more with anything on four legs. Your first words were animal sounds, and at the ripe old age of two, you were lost while we were in Tennessee, and then found walking with a herd of goats, carrying your Pa Bart’s big stick, commanding them like a tiny shepherdess. You charmed their little rescued fawn so that it loved you like a loyal dog, and later, began speaking the language of the equine, which became the lifelong song of your heart. It has been a remarkable thing to watch.

Sometimes we’ve struggled because we haven’t always sung the same song. It’s the way of mothers and daughters, I think; at least for the most part. I told your sister, once, that I realized it was because I was working so hard to bring you both up to be me, since that was all I knew, and I think that mistake was the biggest part of any struggles that you and I have had. You are not me. I’m in there, of course, and I can see bits of myself popping into situations now and then. I can look in your eyes and see my own expression, but now I see past it to you. Wonderful YOU. The industrious, hard-working, deeply-caring, very loyal, Maddie Lane, who started us both on this journey those 27 years ago.

560813_10150904998204741_738871238_nWith each passing year you grow to be a more beautiful, vibrant woman who leaves some Jesus everywhere she goes. It remains a privilege to be your mother, and you know what?

I still couldn’t be happier.

Happy birthday, Maddie. I love you, big as the sky!


Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?
    the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?” Psalm 127:3 MSG