You turn 8 today.  You have seen me cry 7 times and it’s only 9:15 am.
You don’t even ask why anymore.
You just hug me and say you are still gonna dance with me when you’re 18.
You are walking that fine line of still coloring pictures of kittens yet giggling with all your friends when they boy walks into church.
You completely wreck me.
So while I still have it in me, here are a few thoughts I don’t ever want to forget to tell you.

1.  The way you learned to roll your eyes at 2.  Roll them bigger, slower, and nastier.  You can steal someones soul with that move and destroy it right before their eyes.  It’s gonna come in useful one day, but while you are in my house…don’t you dare roll them at me or your mother, or you will feel your butt crushed right before your eyes.
2.  Your mothering tendencies do not go unnoticed.  I might get annoyed by it, but if were not for you, I would have left your brother at preschool 32 times, burnt the house down 7 times, and forgotten your mom’s birthday 1 time.
3.  You are gorgeous.  I mean like seriously.  Remember yesterday when I was shooting skeet at Mr. Pete’s farm?  Remember how I took that shotgun and hit 4 out of 8 skeet?  Well trust me, I’ll go 12 for 12 if they lay a hand on you.
4.  I’m not an idiot.  They are going to lay a hand on you one day.  Just remember when your heart is beating out of your chest during your first kiss, your dad’s heart beats harder for you.  Enjoy the kiss.  Keep his hands above your neck please.
5.  In the next few years you are going to run into some really mean girls.  I know you.  You could destroy them with a string of words that would make Kanye cry.  Especially after what he did to Taylor.  But I also know that you’re ability to win people with that smile of yours will win you some elections one day.  Win those girls.  Don’t lose them.
6.  You’re highs are heavenly and your lows are hell.  This is completely my fault.  You didn’t get much from me besides your brown skin.  But this I gave you.  If, and when you have to talk to someone about it, take a little white pill because of it, or cuss someone out because of it, call dad.
7.  When you laugh, do it from your belly and do it loud.  When you cry, do it from your gut and feel the pain hard.  When you dance, don’t dance like nobody is watching, dance like everybody is watching and blow their minds.  When you kiss, make him know that he will never feel lips like yours again.  When you fight, roll your neck until it almost snaps and if you lose, take that loss and don’t ever lose the same way again.  When you put your head to sleep at night, be pissed off if you are not completely exhausted from living hard all day.
8.  I’ll stop here cause, well, you’re eight…
You are being raised by a dad who loves Jesus maybe a little different than other daddies love Jesus.  Not less.  Just different.  So when you begin to start exploring your beliefs, your questions, your heartbeats, and your complications, you can talk to me.  I want Jesus for you with everything inside of me. But I’m not going to force Jesus on you with an ounce of pressure.  If you can’t figure it out by watching me, then no word I give is going to convince you.  Find your faith how you need to find her.  It may scare the shi+ out of me, but then again, it’s not about me. Oh.  And please don’t say shit.  It’s really crude and I’m working on it…

I love you Seanna Jess Whittaker.

Happy birthday.