April 15, 2009

Birthday Letter to Tulip

My Dearest Tulip,

I write this letter to you on your official 9th birthday. So many people tried to tell me how fast your kids grow up; BUT this is crazy. It seems like yesterday when we were bringing you home from the hospital…a cold and rainy April day…much like today. You have had a magical 8th year of life.

Your 8th year has included a lot of travel (Florida (3 times-including Disney and your first Oireachtas), Williamsburg (2 twice), South Carolina (twice), Vermont, and the many towns we visiting for Irish Dance. I realize that sometimes we don’t let grass grow under our feet, but there is a good reason …I know that in just 9 short years, you will be off to college. I never want to look back and think, “I wish I had spent more time with my family.” I relish our travel times because it forces us to STOP the daily busyness at home and offers opportunities to bond together while enjoying our beautiful country and how much it has to offer. In your 8th year you have learned a lot about American History during our travels to the Smithsonian and Williamsburg. As a result, you have started to enjoy reading historical fiction and even developed an interest during the historic election of 2008.

I so enjoy watching you find your passions in life! These include all of your artistic endeavors in Irish Dance, flute, and your lovely artwork. In school, your teacher tells us what a hard diligent worker you are. At home, you are enjoying learning to cook and crochet. You are a voracious reader… sometimes 4 or 5 books going at a time…just like Mama. You love TRADITION. Just recently you visited your grandmother’s house and brought a list…1. make cookies 2. learn a new crochet stitch 3. wash bunny…all very important traditions and rituals you cling to when you visit there.

This year you and Julianna have become friends…beyond being sisters. As I have watched you patiently teach your sister how to tie her shoes, help her sound out words as she learns to read books, and play for hours in pure imaginary worlds together, I now know, more than ever, that when you grow up you will be best friends.

You have a VERY SPECIAL friend who you CHERISH in the most lovely way, but you are kind and inclusive to everyone. You have a sweet spirit when competing in Irish Dance, always happy for your teammates and always optimistic about your outcome. We all enjoy your passions and are HAPPY to participate…especially when you extend sweet gratitude for us being there.

One of your best qualities darling, is that you LOVE to learn…ANYTHING. You are open to new experiences, hobbies, and food. Gaby, you are a wonderful girl and I have enjoyed every moment of being your mother. As you embark on each new year, I DELIGHT in knowing that if you continue to LOVE LIFE the way you do now, you will grow up to be an extraordinary woman.

I put together this video which documents some of the highlights of our year with you.

Tulip’s 9th Birthday from Shawn Stratmann on Vimeo.

With deep love and adoration, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!



Down home friends and what they say...

Comments (6)

pop said:

Happy Birthday Gabs,
I remember pushing the crib cart from the baby place to your moms room when you were about two hours old. Looking into your eyes that day changed my life forever.

Meg said:

Happy Birthday “Tulip”!!! With Love from your Irish Dance Friends

artist in NC said:

Happy Birthday Gaby….we haven’t officially met but I feel like I know you. You are a delight!! I hope you have had a lovely week and that tonight is even more special.

maribeth said:

shawn - great video - brought tears to my eyes. hbd gaby - love, the tulenkos!!

Great Uncle Bob said:

Happy birthday Gabby. I wish we could be there to see you grow up.

Michaela said:

Happy Birthday Gaby! I love you so much! I can not believe you are already 9 years old! <3 <3 <3

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