Happy Birthday Reilly!
We almost didn't make it through, huh?
Got a little bit scary there in the middle parts of the year, but here you are, at EIGHT, in all your EIGHT year old glory, getting ready to spend the entire year studying for a test that you could have passed in utero, the silly FCAT.
A silly test that YOU, of all people, Mensa Girl! As if you can't read?
Like 189 words a minute or something?
Yes, my dear daughter, you will in fact pass the FCAT.
And I don't want to hear the word EFF-CAT again for the rest of the year!
What else did you accomplish in the past three hundred sixty-five days?
You definitely got your sea legs, that's for sure. No more worries about YOU drowning if our back is turned for a second!
Now falling out of a golf cart......hmmmm......that's something you need to work on. But even though you scared the BAHJesus out of Mama and Daddy and eleventy thousand other people, you were able to notch a few 'firsts' on your belt!
You had your first Bambulance ride.
Your first IV (the drinking straw they stuck in your arm, yeah, the one that sucked and you tried to rip out about eleventy thousand times).
Your first hospital admission.
Your first REALLY REALLY REALLY big and crazy purply black eye!
I know, you understand, the accident was a really big deal, okay, I'm done!
What else happened this year........
You learned to like math!
And by golly, you are darn good at it!
You also decided that you want to be a rock star when you grow up.
Even though Mama and Daddy already think you are a rock star.
And sometimes we need to be reminded that you're not grown up.
That's what happens when you are declared a Mensan at SIX.
You spent the year fighting off the boys your age, and some a few years older, once you figured out that boys play dumb games, games that you are not AT ALL interested in playing yet. (whew!, says Dad!)
You traveled to 27 states with us.
I can't even list all the things you saw for the first time in your life, and maybe your last, but oh how blessed I am to have been able to see them WITH you, instead of THROUGH you! We had soooo many good times, didn't we, Ralph? It was an amazing journey, wasn't it?
I often wonder what your favorite part of the trip was.
Was it riding the train to the Grand Canyon?
Was it getting to go onstage at the magic show in Las Vegas?
Was it getting to earn all your National Junior Park Ranger badges?
Was it the boating trip at Lake Meade at the Hoover Dam with the Vegas and Texas Pirates and those crazy Bighorn Rams?
Was it discovering another favorite Aunt?
Was it the Meeting in St. Louis which was interrupted by a silly presidential motorcade of all things?
Riding really grown up stuff at your first street fair/carnival?
Discovering that Carlsbad Caverns stinks so bad that we could have gone our whole lives without ever having to go there?
Was it tubing down the Virgin River in Zion National Park, and being brave enough to jump off of your first rope swing?
Maybe I should perhaps just ask you what your favorite memory was, because this could go on forever!
We had some sad stuff happen while you were seven, huh?
Mama was pretty sick most of the time. I hope you won't remember that as much as the stench of Carlsbad Caverns.
We lost Grandpa. Right after we hugged and cried and squeezed and prayed for God to save him the first time, God decided he needed him up in heaven, probably to eat up some butterscotch caramel cake, but definitely not blueberry pie!
And you had to make a really tough decision at that rough time. You decided not to see Grandpa. You were scared. You didn't want to see him any other way than how you remember him right now. And we didn't make you see him. That wasn't our decision to make, it was YOURS. And don't you ever regret it, Reilly Fallon. You did what was right for you. You followed your heart and your feelings and that was a very SMART thing that you did. I am so very proud of you for sticking to your guns, my little Cowgirl.
And as horribly, horribly sad as it was for Grandpa to go to heaven, you actually had some fun moments with your brother. Like playing in THREE FEET OF SNOW????
Do you remember how freaked out you and Jake were the first time you went into the snow? You guys were SCARED of the snow! Y'all acted like astronauts taking your first steps on the moon! It was soo fun to watch and get to play with you in snow in January, on a day where you should have been in school in Florida, but instead, you got to make snow angels and get blue lips after a West Virginia blizzard!
And you got to see ALL of your cousins on Daddy's 'side'. That was a rare treat. You LOVE your cousins! And you have so many, on both 'sides', that I'm getting a headache trying to count them.
This was also the year that you started to become friends with your brother. Oh, how this makes Mama and Daddy smile on the inside. Jake ADORES you! YOU are his superhero! And now that he will be going to kindergarten...we are trusting you to be more than his sister on the school bus and at school. We need you to be his best friend, too. After all, you are EIGHT for crying out loud. You can do this. I know you can.
Something else I know you can do, and I am here to help you, however you need it, is to finally put the thumb in its proper place, and not in your mouth. Even when you're bored, even when you're tired, even when you're sleeping. You just have to do it, honey. We'll get there together one of these days, I promise.
And heckfire, maybe we'll even get your shoes tied!
Flipflops are way more fun!
Reilly, you continue to fill our hearts with love, pride, joy, and fear each and every day. You are sooooooo beautiful.
A brilliant, beautiful, sweet child of God, who shines brighter and brighter each and every day.
You were the reason I was born, Reilly Nicole Fallon.
And for that, I thank you.
And of course............
I love you THISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS much!
Happy EIGHTH birthday, Baby Girl!