12 on the 12th!

My Bayley-Girl...

On Christmas Eve, 1998, we went to cousin Tristan's Christening at IC, and then spent the rest of the day finalizing plans for Granny Kitty's funeral.  In the midst of the flurry (and flurries...it had snowed and iced the day before!), we discovered that we were expecting you, our second child.  As we drove through the still-slippery streets downtown that day, I looked at your daddy and said, "This is going to be a girl, and her name will be Katherine."  

You were, and it is.  And you, Bayley Katherine, have been a blessing since those very first moments when God brought joy in the midst of our grief with the anticipation of your arrival.   

You are the most Italian of your Italian grandmother's grandchildren.  You are most like your daddy (sometimes seeming to be a carbon copy) of his offspring.  In looks, you are a Zappia through and through!  I never will forget seeing Aunt Rosie for the first time and thinking, "That is what Bayley is going to look like in 30 years!"  From your earliest days, strangers have stopped us remarking on "those gorgeous brown eyes"...and I always have to reply (and now you do, as well...), "They're her Daddy's."  And her Nonna's.  And his Nonna's.  :-)

You don't just *look* like the Italian side of the family...you *act* a great deal like them, too.  And yet...you are also in many ways a reflection of your namesake, Granny Kitty.   I am still shocked sometimes at how much you can be like someone you never met...but you are.  Many times over the years, we've said, "Bayley, you are SUCH a Katherine!" when Granny Kitty has once again shown through your tastes and personality.  

But despite the fact that there is no denying your similarities to either side of the family, you are also very uniquely and distinctly and totally Bayley.  Your personality may have very strong influences from your family tree, but when you put it all together, it is totally yours.  Your strong mothering instinct, your organizational abilities, your drive and sense of purpose and focus...it's been clear since your very young years that God is preparing you for something special.  

We were very deliberate in naming all of our children.  As already mentioned, I was determined from the start that you were going to be "Katherine".  We went through literally hundreds of combinations of names, with every variation of "Katherine" imaginable, before deciding on Bayley Katherine.  I had always loved the name Bailey, and when I came across the alternate spelling, I was hooked.  Daddy and I were very careful about the meanings of all of your names, and I loved the meaning of Katherine..."pure".  That meaning has taken on special significance for you in the past few years, as God has been working in your life and giving you a strong appreciation for the way that He makes us pure in Christ, washing us whiter than snow.  You love that picture, and I do, too.  

The meaning of Bayley, however, seemed a little odd in the beginning..."bailiff".  How in the world did that fit in?  And yet how perfect has that turned out to be for you...a bailiff being "one who keeps order" (usually in a court).  And you are known for being "the one who keeps order"!   God knew even that about you before you were born!   He created you that way...with a very special plan for your life, in which I have no doubt that "keeping order" will play a part.  

For a long, long time you have talked about "adopting 20 children".  At first, it was a typical little-girl dream...like the little boy who is going to be an astronaut or a fireman when he grows up, or the little girl who is going to be a ballerina.  But...some of those little boys DO grow up to be astronauts and firemen, and some of those little girls actually become ballerinas.  The older you've gotten, the more that dream has taken shape and become a goal...to adopt a houseful of African orphans someday.  You were serious about that long before your Acteens group began reading the story of Amy Carmichael, another brown-eyed girl, who cared for hundreds of orphans in India, and long before we started following Katie Davis's blog.  

I don't know if God will eventually lead you to adopt a houseful of orpans, here or overseas, but I do know, as do you, that God has a plan for your life...a plan for good and not for evil, a plan to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11 has become a precious verse to both of us, and you have clung to it with a sure certainty for the last five years.  

Happy 12th Birthday, my Bayley-girl!!  I am so proud of you, and so thankful for God's amazing grace evidenced in your life in so many ways. 

I love you, 



Pilgrim Days said...

Happy Golden Birthday!!!

Life at the Lake said...

Happy Birthday Bayley! It is hard to believe you are 12. A beautifu young woman!! Many blessings today and always.

Kelly said...

Happy Birthday, Bayley.
What a wonderful post for a delightful girl! I didn't realize before that she and Jerald are just about a week apart in age...

Jennifer said...

Rachel, Jody, and Kelly...Bayley says thank you for the birthday wishes! Jody...I'm with you...I keep thinking, "How did this happen?" Kelly...I didn't realize that, either. When is his birthday? Emlyn's bday is on the 18th. August is a busy month here...:)

t marie said...

I love this amazing girl. I CAN'T WAIT to see you guys next month!!!!