As I sit down to pen this birthday reflection, images of our newest five-year old float through my mind. Each one brings a smile: a little girl with eyes that literally twinkle and a laugh that sweeps over her from head to toe; a little girl that ponders big thoughts and earnestly shares them; a little girl with a big reputation of being staunchly herself.
Just like her name, Arden is fervent in all she does. She works hard to articulate her thoughts and when the words are slow to come she uses every emotion in her body to show how she feels. It is intense but also meaningful. I appreciate that she isn’t afraid to express herself no matter what. I also love the words she chooses. To her brother: “Can you help me? I have to clean the whole world! I mean, my whole room.” About waiting for her turn in the bathroom: “It’s going to take forever!” And when we were having a picnic outside: “Look! The trees are breathing when the wind blows.”
She is fascinating to observe with her sideways glance and impish grin when she is up to something or how she floats away from a task that holds no interest to her and all of a sudden you’re asking, “where’s Arden?” And then you find her lounging somewhere- thumb in mouth, twirling her hair. She diligently comforts the ill and tirelessly entertains her baby siblings. She fervently loves what she loves and dislikes what she dislikes.
She has grown in height and heart so much between four and five but the greatest growth has been in her desire to do what is right. Whenever she is corrected for misbehaving, she quickly apologizes on her own initiative. She sidles up to me, hugs me and then sincerely names what she did wrong and asks to be forgiven. And after looking at her birth album before bed last night she said, “Thank you for looking at my baby book with me.” In Arden, any small change is a big one.
Happy birthday to a most precious little girl who brings intense joy and exuberant life to this planet. May Jesus be your reason to sing!