Clare is another year into the teenager gig and we’re all still alive. Ha! But seriously, with each passing day she looks more and more like her older sister. It’s fun to see that budding relationship. Let’s get to that birthday letter. It’s a busy week around here!
Dear Clare Bear,
I just can’t quit that nickname. Hope that it doesn’t make you cringe.
This past year, one thing has really stuck out to me: your heart. When your older brother Will was little, he was always the one who noticed other kids on the playground who were feeling alone or scared. And he always went to them. You do the same thing and it’s just so endearing. Dad and I sometimes call you the “sweeper.” It’s from our college days at A&M. The Fish Camp counselors who were responsible for “sweeping the cabins” were charged with seeking out the kids who were struggling, feeling left behind or out of place or who simply didn’t want to be there. It was one of the most important jobs in the camp.
You fulfill such an important role in our family.
It’s been a joy to watch you continue your love of theatre. And, this summer, dance! Dad was thrilled when you finally tried out for the dance team at the high school and made it! He’s been begging you for years to dance. Looking forward to seeing you at pep rallies and basketball halftime shows.
Speaking of high school. That’s happening in two months. You’ll be one of three high school Whitakers this fall and that just seems crazy. You’re going to thrive; I feel it. No doubt, English will be a class you’ll probably love the most. So much potential lies ahead. New friends. New experiences. New classes. A new season. Promise me you’ll lean into the new.
You still aren’t a fan of cleaning up your room (Jesus, take the wheel because it drives me ba-nanas) and you’re easily sidetracked from one task to another, especially if you’re in the middle of creating something. I have to remind myself to cut you some slack sometimes. Your creative brain just has too much to process to stay focused on just one thing!
Gianna loves it when you read books to her, even though it takes y’all a good 45 minutes. You two. You’re like peas in a pod.
I’m enjoying seeing the young woman emerge in you. I know that some things are still hard and feel like they’ll never end (like wearing that back brace for your scoliosis), but I promise that one day, very soon, you’ll emerge on the other side. Be patient in the waiting, sweet Clare. God is preparing you for some big battles that can only be won because you laid the right foundation.
May your fourteenth year be full of new beginnings, new experiences, new ways to grow and new ways to love.
We adore you, Clare.
This birthday message was beautiful! I saw you on the virtual Oklahoma women’s conference and you are forever stuck in my brain as being someone I would love to meet and invite to speak to our women in Utah. Those of us who listened to your presentation on the virtual conference were blown away by your humor, humility, religious spirit, and beautiful words! Do you make appearances at conventions? I would love to chat with you! I am the state president for our Diocesan Council of Catholic Women here in Utah.