For Tabitha, at 15

I remember your birth, but not very well. It was cold, December in Chicago. And we all crowded into a little waiting room at the hospital in Oak Park, waiting for the miracle that was you. Lady stayed about a week to help your mom get settled and then came home on the train. I wanted to know everything, which wasn’t much. You’d been sleeping and pooping mostly, I think.

We were excited, of course, since you are our first grandchild. There are eleven now, but you are the first in many ways—so many things you did first. First new tooth. First recital. First one to stand on your toes. All the time. And you’ll be the first one to get a job of some sort, trading your time for money. And now you will have the first driver’s license. (In the state of Washington, you can get your instruction permit as early as 15 years old, but don’t tell your parents I said so.) And we’re still excited for you.

You will probably be the first grandchild to travel alone (come see us.) And you’ll probably have the first broken heart too, but I hope I’m getting ahead of myself. I think you are well-prepared for all the firsts yet to come, however. You are graceful. And gracious. And we like that you are not full of yourself, at least not often. What we like more is that you still like your parents (it’s not hard) and even more that, you respect them. And help them. This is, of course, the first commandment with promise. They are solid, generous, grounded people, and you are fortunate, as you know.

We take great pride in your dedication to dance, and the pictures and performances give us much to brag about with our friends. But we are most grateful for the ways the Lord has gifted you, with a sense of humor, a willingness to serve others, and a sensitivity to their feelings. We see this in the way you interact with your siblings, and talk about your friends, and manage your disappointments. You have a lot of poise for 15 years, and it’s not just your physical posture, but your spiritual posture. We are rejoicing in the young woman you are becoming.

This year, as you approach the 16-year milestone, we are praying that you will continue to be a shinning gazelle, one who reflects the glory of Christ in the world with humility and grace. You will find the strength you need (even for a broken heart) in who He is and what He does, which is to save us and change us. We all need saving and changing.

This year may you be alert to any sinful pride or attitude, guarding your heart with diligence, and becoming more confident and courageous because “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).”

This is our prayer for you.

That, and a happy birthday.

1 thought on “For Tabitha, at 15”

  1. Wally,this is the best birthday letter I have ever seen or read..Tabitha is blessed to have you and Katie as her grandparents and her best supporters, now and throughout her formative years.

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