Over and over and over, I've watched complete strangers be affected by her...even the hold-out ones eventually have to smile. People give her candy, toys, money, etc because they are so blessed by that "something" about her...all of that personality wrapped up in a short, solid body is more than they can ignore.
Amanda has been an incredible blessing to our family, I wish there was an adequate way to capture the essence of her this past year. We rejoice that she's growing into the girl and woman God created her to be and we would never want to hold her back in anyway, but, without a doubt, we will always hold "Amanda being 2" as a precious, amazing year. And now I'm crying...again.
It worked out well that most of our family was still around from Thanksgiving. We celebrated the day after, Friday, on her actual birthday. I think I counted 25 adults and 13 kids....just family. We ate lasagna and salad (I didn't dare serve turkey in any form).
The night before Amanda was up for a good part of the night, so she was quite tired. Shaun actually slept in her twin bed for a couple hours because it was such a rough night. She starting wearing down towards the end so this is her big sister telling her she needs to smile. Avery said, "you need to smile like I did on my birthday" and then ran to get the picture of her doing just that.
Earlier in the day while I was making her cake she said, Mom, you worked so hard to make my cake! then, when she came down from her nap she checked the counter and said, Oh good...I was afraid all the people ate my cake!
Amanda, we love you just the way you are and feel so blessed to have been entrusted with you for a few short years. Have fun being 3!
My daughter, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.