Tomorrow is your 13th birthday. I have a million things I want to say to you. I could tell you the story of how you put yourself in time out when you were three and told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn't allowed to talk to you while you were self-disciplining. Oh there are stories. I could rattle off my hopes for your future. But I'll spare you those tales and wishes because the events leading up to your thirteenth birthday are worth being recorded.
You've been wanting a dog since last Fall, if not long before then. You're an animal lover, if not part animal. Still, getting you a dog had not been a part of our plans.
One week before your birthday, I asked you to get out of bed (around noon) and to do something stimulating (besides washing your hair), something that would better your life or the life of someone else. You wrote me a witty, charming and convincing text explaining that getting a dog would provide just the stimulating opportunity you needed.
Your dad originally was't having it. I, however, was "ON IT"! I began to look at the Humane society website for pictures of a possible pet. Several cuties didn't work out and being approved to adopt a dog was a pretty serious process. I'm pretty sure we could have adopted you a baby brother just as easily. But going through the frustrating process revealed some good stuff.
1. We found out Griffin has a mild case of heartworms. Had we not tried to adopt a dog, Griffin would have gotten more and more sick without our knowing. Getting the bad news is the first step in solving problems. You can only mend what you know is torn.
I also found out that you're supposed to give your dog medicine EVERY MONTH to prevent them from getting heartworms. Who knew? (Apparently everybody but us). Boy I felt like a dummy. But here's the deal. You'll have more occasions than you want where you'll figure out you messed up, sometimes royally. Wallowing in dumminess does nothing to better the situation. Educate yourself. Learn from your mistakes. You'll be better because of it. And you'll serve people better by your learning from errors.
2. Several times I saw a dog I thought "was the one" on the shelter website. You almost got a dog named Mallie; a couple of the dogs I had my heart set on weren't available. Some times when things don't work out?..... They really do. Remember this every day of your life.
3. I relearned the importance of patience. I didn't say that I like being patient or that I'm good at it, I said that patience is important and sometimes the only option, besides freaking out (which, by the way, is never a good option).
4. I was faced with a test of my integrity. I had the chance to lie to the people at the shelter so that we could for sure get the dog. Everything else had checked out and all I had to do was give them one little dishonest answer when they asked a question about Griffin. I had to silently pray repeatedly something like "Please don't lie, please don't lie..." while I talked to the people at the shelter because I have a creative mind (which is a nice way of saying untruths at times pop in my head and find their way to my mouth conveniently and quite naturally). Sometimes being dishonest to ensure you get what you want is SO tempting. Integrity is always the right choice.
5. Dogs are fur real friends. The minute I met your little dog we were instant and forever friends. I think about the trouble we go through with our people friends and the people we think are our friends. I'm glad to have them but it's nice to hang with a canine girl who may not "get it" but just loves you like the dickens. The handful of girls in this world with whom you find friendship is easy and real, be thankful!
6. The whole "To give is better than to receive" thing? That's legit! I've been more excited about this gift than ANY gift I remember receiving. Be giving and trust that God will put you on the receiving end more than you'll deserve. Let Him be concerned with your "getting".
I hope this is a birthday that will go down in history as one where you felt love and experienced laughter and one which made you look forward to rest of this thing called life.
I love you much,