We put into practice several years ago the idea of alternating "Big" birthday parties. It saves mom's sanity (somewhat) and saves on the pocket book. This was an "off'" year for Mandy, so she asked if she might have some friends over for a sleepover. She kept it small, and the girls all seemed to have a good time together. We took them out for a pizza dinner,and we came home to decorate their own cupcakes. The girls all enjoy crafts and made these cute hats, Then, they all disappeared into Mandy's room for an evening full of giggling, and storytelling. She seemed to enjoy this semi-quiet birthday as much if not more than a big event party; however, she is already making plans for her "special" 13th birthday next year.We shall see about that next year (too many other things between now and then).
Mandy turned twelve this year. We are watching her grow ever so quickly before her eyes. Since Mandy joined our family at the age of 7, it has been even harder to watch her grow as we missed so much of her beginnings. She asks often why we didn't adopt her as a baby. Oh, how I wish we could have...how I wish that was part of God's plan for her, but it wasn't. We have made it our goal to let her enjoy childhood for as long as possible. That means "girlie-girl" parties, sleepovers, playing in the mud, and giggling with girlfriends. All to her hearts content! It isn't easy ...this concept for her, because her physical and social development often overshadow her psychological development and maturity. Her friendships with these girls has really blossomed over this past year. It is so nice for her to be able to interact with girls her own age, and these girlfriends are sweet, loving and encouraging to Mandy. It is such a blessing to see God at work in her life. Over the past few months, Mandy has really begun to question the plan that God has and is laying out for her. She is develping a real interest in serving and thinks she may have an interest in missionary work... "maybe in China (as a teacher)" or "maybe somewhere else". She is opening her heart to us a little more with each passing year. I cannot even decribe the joy that fills my heart as she begins to share her thoughts, feelings, fears and trust. We have been working, working, working, and praying, praying, praying that she could and would trust us enough to open her heart and to know that we are forever. We are often still on a roller coaster ride in our relationship, but with each passing year we see more and more glimpses of the beautiful child God has made.
Happy Birthday to our precious, beautiful treasure...our Mandy-girl!