I remember taking two week old Ruby up to the Washington Mutual buildings where Ben worked to show off our baby to his co-workers. She was swimming in her clothes with a full head of jet black spiky hair and the softest cheeks. After making the rounds and having her admired, I remember one of Ben's older friends said, "You just have no idea how fast it goes." We nodded, having heard that before and he insisted, "One day they're laying in your arms and the next, they're off on their own." A mild sense of panic set in. I wanted my baby to stay my baby. Along the way there's been the joy of seeing her grow and learn. In the beginning we were delighted to see her  smile back at us to and try to be  funny. At every part of her development, though of course there's been challenges, there's also the pride in seeing what a strong heart she has, how she cares for people, how she craves to learn and think and create. She loves on that little brother and laughs at all his two-year-old quirkiness. She encourages Jasper and Tymen in learning and bosses them around when she thinks they need it. She loves to cuddle and go on dates and read together. She'd wear her striped fleece sweater every single day if we let her. She devours joke books and powers through novels. She's jumped on her pogo stick over eight hundred times. She likes to make popsicles and makes lists of creative plans. She's long and leggy. She makes crafts and writes letters for teachers and friends. She tells me when we cozy and talk and read her girls' devotional book and pray at night that it's one of her favorite parts of her day.

And though the beauty of watching her grow far eclipses it, sometimes I feel that bit of urgency that I did when she was a baby. It's going fast. My baby is growing and I want to savor her, to give to her what I can during the gift of these years that she's under our roof.

It's her ninth birthday. I look at the photo below and see just a bit of what her little baby face looked like with her long lashes, soft cheeks, sweet lips. Then I look at these other pictures and it makes me so pleased that I'm her mum and I get to watch her grow and develop to be the young lady she's meant to be. I am proud of this girl.

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Ruby, God could not have given us a more wonderful girl than you. We will always love you and are so glad that you are ours, from being a tiny baby to forever. Happy birthday, sweetheart. 01-20130502-IMG 9593 copy

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