I don’t usually recount her “sparklingness” or share her silly statements or devote words to her specific past dramas. I don’t have much to laugh about, save in relief, when it comes to my, in so many ways born-grown, child, Sarah.

Sarah, is my “I don’t worry about her” child. She always finds a way to do well, regardless the difficulty or complexity of the circumstance. She succeeds, anyway…without my assistance, editing, quiz-bowling, reminders, etc. SHE does it, on her freaking own…and I, the ever overwhelmed mama, have been too dang grateful to ask if she would like it to be otherwise.

All my children ( and yours) are geniuses, in their own way. But, Sarah has that beautiful, steady, sane streak. She quickly recognizes both the value of justice and unity. She is bright and a quick study. She is also thorough and incredibly creative.  She is a high-school sleeper who quietly does excellent work, dispenses grace to others who have digested less themselves, and leads by integrous example. Few really see her, yet. But, I who have made an uncompensated career of seeing just such, do see. Her becoming presence blares, flashes violently; it is unmistakable.

I wonder sometimes how I am to make it up to this child who willingly mama’d whomever ever little was just below her, in months, whom I was not wrangling or chasing or peeling from me. She without a request from me, packed their bags and pushed a stroller and just did more than I could have ever expected.

Sarah turned 16 this weekend. She was feeling sickly and I was over-scheduled. We didn’t do all we wanted to celebrate who she still was and has become these years. In my house, the squeaky wheel gets the grease…she doesn’t falter or freak or ask for help, what she does do is more than any sane parent could ever ask of a daughter.

Sometimes, I wonder if I have done enough, anything, to make her life feel as special as she is. There is no shiny new car in our drive. There was no sweet sixteen blow-out to celebrate. I didn’t take her on a spree to buy her beautiful things. I didn’t even get this out, until today.

I hope she knows how grateful I am to have her. How much hope she gives me…this child who writes better than I after all theses years of practice. Not too long ago, she wrote a sermon, her heart,  with insight and wording to rival Brian McLaren’s best, and no, she has not yet read a line of his thought. I hope she knows how much I admire how she seeks to understand and navigates her relationships through that lens. I hope she realizes that she is becoming, daily,  a woman of great wisdom and compassion and fortitude to do good, well.

We have plans, Sarah and I, after we get Number One Son off to school… plans to wander toward beauty and visit (her) possible future homes. Soon, it will be her turn, she will be first, foremost…I promise, I will (finally) make it all about her. All she has invested these years will be returned to her, with interest.

Happy Birthday, Sarah! I love you so.




Filed under observation

13 responses to “Sarah

  1. Nice! Love this and her!

  2. “I hope she knows how grateful I am to have her.”

    As a daughter whose mom has also called her a “don’t worry about her child,” I think I can say safely she knows. And she’ll be more appreciative of the fanfare and attention than she’ll have words to say.

    I hope that I’m the kind of mom you are when I have a kid, should that day come. I hope that I’m that attentive to who that kid is, and know him/her that well.

    Good work, mom!

  3. You captured so well, in all the best ways with words, the humanity, humbleness, strength, wisdom and grace of our woman-old soul-chil, beautiful Sarah.

    I take for granted my own role and responsibility to my god-child whom I revere, respect and adore. I commit, from this point forward, to sowing into -and reaping from- her uniquities.

    What an honor to watch her grow into more of the wonder God has created of her, and to get to be a part of her journey.

    You are a good Mama, Kim. Among the few Best of any I know. You have much to be proud with the Sullivan-four, as they do their incredible, God-Mama.

    Love you both very, very much.


  4. This is wonderfully written and expressed, Kim! Happy birthday, dear Sarah! It is an honor to know you. I can’t wait to see how God will use you in the coming years.

  5. Sarah,
    All your mom has written here is both beautiful and true.
    Your heart is so pure. The moments that are way too often overlooked by busy-bodies and over-thinkers, are soaked up and appreciated by you. One night at edge, we were talking. You shared with me about your life. The compassionate words and tone blew me away. I saw a heart that was confused because you knew relationships and life in general could be better than it is. However, in your beautiful maturity, I saw hope. That night you caught me off guard by reminding me to slow down. To savor the moments and not get caught up in legalities. I love that about you. I also enjoy our coffee dates and expect to have MANY, MANY more.
    I love you so much and am so proud and impressed with how wonderful you truly are.

  6. Kathryn

    Dear Sarah,
    I read the words that poured from your mother and, standing behind the desk of the hotel where I work, I cried a little. For years I knew you so well. I can hear your sweet giggle and smell your hair as you and your sisters sprawled in my lap. For the past five years my mind’s image of you has remained the same. So I cried to be forced into reality–the child is becoming a woman. And I cried because of how proud I am of you. Your depth of character does not surprise me. I am glad your quiet nature has stead-fast. Always remember that your peaceful spirit and sense of conviction are great strengths. And never forget how much you are loved.
    Your tent-making babysitter,

  7. pjermsims

    Hey pretty girl! As the lone fella so far and part of the crew that adore you, I am so thankful that guys aren’t bright enough to see your beauty, brains, wit and goofiness yet! The great news for your mom is that the time that they roll around and see it, you’ll be long past the phase of settling and probably have even humbly discovered those same self-possessed qualities. Run and soar and leave and forget all that is small and simple and discover the wide open space that patiently waits for you. I love you!

  8. mysong413

    When I was first recruited into your mom’s chosen few I had no clue I’d be gaining a little sister of you. In case you were unaware, I have made it official every time I put you in that headlock you love so much and tell you not to fight, but just to accept the inevitable– that I am going to pester and love you to death. Do you remember the Sunday I walked up to you and said “when did this happen? You look all grown up!”… That may have been the first time I ever REALLY saw you– Sarah the young woman, the sun-dress easy-goer, the deep thinker. . . I agree with Jeremy about silly boys. You’re a special sort ya know kid 😉 Everything in you oozes wonder, thoughtfulness, and goofy grins. I love you bunches!

  9. Brock Boyd

    Sarah, you are such and smart, beautiful, and awesome girl. You are always so much fun when I am around you. You definitely act older than you really are. You are my little sister and will always be. I will always do my very best to be there for you. I am very proud of everything you’ve done. Keep being the light you are. I cannot wait to see you. I will be home Monday and I will see you Wednesday night at church. Love you

  10. Stacey Ramm

    Sarah, It doesn’t seem possible that you’re 16. I have watched you grow into a beautiful, smart, funny yet mature young woman. I so enjoy your big smile and equally big hugs when I see you in church. My kids and I adore you! You are definitely their favorite babysitter! And the fact that I don’t worry about them non stop when they are in your care says a lot about you. I love you girl. Happy sweet 16.

  11. Sarah,
    You truly are beautiful inside and out, and your mom has captured that in the best way. You are smart, so smart. Like I wish I had brains like yours! I love to be a part of what God is doing in you:) Your heart is so big and kind and your perception of relationships and justice is astounding. I love you so much and I cant wait to hang with you at the beach!
    You are awesome and I adore you!


  12. So, the first comment didn’t post, so then I wrote the second one and of course they posed at the same time… haha
    Anyway, I LOVE YOU!

  13. Thank you so much mama. This means more to me than any sweet 16 bash or expensive gifts. This is my mother telling me how wonderful she thinks I am bc she feels like she never has enough time to truly express it. It’s all the people I care about and love deeply saying that I’m great and telling me sweet memories we shared. It’s more important to me than what all those other 16 year olds have, it’s infinitely more special. Thank you so much everyone once again. Each and everyone of you has sown into my life so much. I am who I am bc of you guys. Especially my mama, she says I have surpassed her but I never would have made it this far without her. I love you all so much.

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