Our daughter Isabel has been her own unique person from the very start. I can still remember waiting with bated breath the news of her impending arrival after emotional months of expectation. She set her own schedule for entering the world, and when she did it was under critical circumstances that nearly took her life. We spent the night of her birth day on June 12, 2002 in prayer, hope and tears until we could finally meet the following morning in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a Pennsylvania hospital. Against all odds, this beautiful dark-haired baby girl was released just over a week later with many follow-up appointments which she proceeded to pass with flying colors. It wasn't until a year and half later that it became evident she would need some additional support in some areas, thrusting her into the world of friendly therapists and doctors and devices as a little girl.
Now at 17 years old, Isabel is still her own unique person. She loves to read, mainly mysteries. She says she's not a writer but has spent hours spinning stories that I have yet to read (hint, hint!) She prides herself on her taste in music. She is a fun-loving sister to baby brother Silas and a sharp wit in competition with her other siblings. She likes riddles. She's a great game player. Social interaction is her thing. She (along with brother Owen) is the kid we can send to the counter to ask a question, or designate a solo seat on the airplane because meeting new people does not usually faze her. She hides a tender heart behind a bit of bravado. She likes to joke that she is "fun size" and it's a cute label that fits her well!
|With friend Tiffany, Aunt Pam, brother Owen, and Aunt Noni|
When birthdays roll around, it is a creative quest to decide what "Sissy" will like. Rather than wrapped gifts, we often settle on experiences of some sort. For her 12th birthday, it was straightening her hair. This year for her 17th, it was highlighting her curls with some copper tones. As I write this post, it is actually four months after her birthday (shame on me!) and she is still enjoying the reddish tint which looks naturally lovely.
|With friends Elisa, Catalina, Isabel, Meme and siblings Eva and Ian|
Isabel also chose to save all birthday monies towards a special trip. Last year, she and I joined a team of medical professionals from the States as translators on a medical missions campaign in Temuco (southern Chile.) Immediately Isabel made the determination to focus saving towards next year's trip so that she could participate again. Unlike many of us, she does a great job not spending money! So birthday gifts from grandparents and missionary family were a blessing to that end.
|With Mom and Dad, Uncle Jon and brothers Silas and Alec|
Of course, Isabel's birthday would not be complete without time spent with friends. The evening of her birthday, she was joined by her missionary "aunts" and "uncles," special Chilean friends, brothers, sister and parents to sing Happy Birthday and enjoy a rousing game of Guesstures! It was a joy to celebrate our sweet, sassy, special, newly-minted seventeen-year old.
Happy 17th Birthday! I am so grateful God gave you to us one unforgettable June day. You have made our life so much more exciting and entertaining, deeper and richer than we would have otherwise known. Watching you grow up into a young woman has taught me so much. Believe it or not, you often remind me of myself at your age and I love that we can share interests such as a favorite author or books we both enjoy. I also cherish our Fridays going into FLORECE together! Even though we may each do our own thing, it is special to have a routine that the two of us share and as a mom I am proud to observe your warm reception and hospitality to each client who comes our way. I admire your interest in people and your courage in tackling new situations. I know that even though the details of the future may look uncertain, God has is all figured out and He has something tremendous in store for your life. Keep pursuing Him first and foremost, and He will make it clear to you! Daddy and I and many others are cheering for you always.
All my love,
16th Birthday - Isabel
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12th Birthday - Isabel
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