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Molly's seventeen year old poem:

Molly is Seventeen

We stand together here
At the beginning of your senior year
And my heart is filled with thankfulness
Because I get to be your dad
What a year you've had!
How full it has been
Thinking back, I remember when
You turned sixteen, now that was a big deal
Because soon thereafter, you were behind the wheel
Though the license would have not taken so long
If your parents were less grudging
Still, due to your steady urging, cajoling and nudging
We got the time in on the road, and you earned your wings

Driving is, of course, both tight and legit
No, you don't mind driving, not one bit
Getting to captain a car was a welcome change
Increasing by leaps and bounds how far you can range
That being said,
I think it's time to admit it
and admit it we shall
Generally speaking, Change isn't your pal
But that didn't stop it from hanging around, of course
Making a nuisance of itself, rattling your windows and pounding on your doors

But you can't stop it
Your junior year started
And it was a challenge, to say the least
Between advanced placement classes, a new band
And a million other things, it was a beast
If stress were food, you'd have had a feast
If worried thoughts were raindrops
You'd have been Hurricane Molly
You were stressed all the way to the top
Because change, and life, and time keep rolling
No matter how loudly we yell "Stop"
And I thought at times you might pop

But what I saw instead was a strength, a perseverence emerge in you
And these things lead to peace, in place of fear
Even in a weird year like last year
Containing many unexpected turns of events
And yet we know all happenings, good and bad
Are in some way Heaven-sent
And everything sifts through God's fingers
Working together for good
The good purposes for which they were meant

The first semester ended,
you made it through the wind and the rain
And we made it, as a family, finally
To Simerferopol, Ukraine!
It was so good to be together
In Europe for the first time,
though, sadly, not in France
But we soon found that concrete-laden, crazy-driving Crimea
Holds its own certain special romance
We saw how other halves live
With half as much as we have, or less
And yet, and this will always bless
When we have the Lord, we are one
United to the Father, brothers and sisters, by the Son
It was great seeing Papa and Mama on mission
And our lovely Tatar friends at Matisse
Where we were the dancing Amerikanskis
Sweet friends, Jason, Lilly, and Anya
And Snovim Godom fireworks on the Black Sea
But soon we had to bid a sad das vedanya

Then back home and back to earth, and a second semester
Through it all, you remained a conspicuous over-achiever
And anyone who thinks you just slide into "A"s is deluded
I've seen how hard you work, and I am a believer
A believer in Molly, you can do whatever you set your mind to
And as the year finally concluded, and you were finally through
You were perfect again, grade-wise
In my eyes you are simply amazing
Though it must have seemed like the end of school would come never
Bam, all of a sudden, Summer, your Best Friend Forever
And you had a full one, didn't you - one for the ages
As day by day we turned the pages

In music you continued to grow and mature
An awesome bass player, accomplished and sure
The Band O' Fun expertly weaved worship tones
At three camps, On the March amidst all the Bare Bones
(And a mission trip too, were you ever at home?
We had our share of Molly-less days and Molly-less nights)
But back to band, you guys were so musically tight
And beautifully, spiritually unified too
Fools couldn't rush in until you guys were done
And though you were the warm up, between the two
The B.O.F. was my favorite one

The cruise was amazing, and a fitting end to the summer
(and sorry for reminding you that summer ends
I know that's a bummer)
Hanging out on the Lido, 40 ice cream cones apiece
Swimming with our flippered new best friend for life, Luis
Karaoke - we wowed 'em - and had the best dinners ever
Living some memories that we will keep forever
It was a summer abundantly experienced, day after day
And as I think on it, and think on you, I have to say
How proud I am of you, my beautiful daughter
You're a girl who's putting into practice what God has taught her

You're an encourager, you care for your friends
And it was not for no reason that some were hurting and needing you
God placed them in your path, for you to reach out
Because that's something He's created you to do.
I think seeing others in need
Opened your eyes and helped you see, indeed
That you have so much, and have much to share
A helpful hand, a listening ear, just being friend who is there

You're artistic, taking more pictures than can be counted
Through the many electronic woes you were dealt
Still, thousands of shutters were snapped,
billions of bytes uploaded
A truly volumnuous record, I think that you felt
You needed to record every second, every passing scene captured
You're a shutterbug, camera-crazy, photography enraptured

And have you noticed
When we talk, more and more it is adult to adult
In conversations over fajitas we delved deeper
and reached higher in what we were talking about
By the way, you're a fast, fast talker
Ninety words a minute, or thereabout
(But only half as many, I suppose
If you take all of those "likes" out)

It was a year full of changes, of struggles, of overcoming
A year of growth, and putting faith to the test
Mixed with some good cries, mint chocolate chip, and Gilmore girls
And finding out that God's grace is sufficient, the very best

A Fall of beginnings,
Jumping into a schedule of challenging girth
A Winter of endurance,
waiting for a new year's birth
A Spring of new life
And blooming from the cold earth
A joyful Summer bright
And amidst the adversity, and angst, a seed of peace, blooming
Nurtured by walking in God's light

Today we stand together, but I know it won't be long
Till you will release your hand from ours and stand alone
But never alone, really
Because the Lord stands with you
And he has been building into you
Steadfastness, character, beauty inside and outside
And the faith and strength to persevere when you're troubled and tried
And above all, the strength to abide
You are becoming, and will become
A tree planted in good, rich soil, with roots travelled deep
Because though winds blow, and swiftly does the river sweep
You are safe in God's loving keep
Through it all you will stand
Yielding fruit in its season
With a leaf that does not wither
Beloved and held in God's strong hand
Because He loves you beyond what you can imagine
Through every joy and trial, every single day
So happy birthday sweetie, you're growing up
And I love you so, in every single way

Happy Birthday!
I love you,

Dad
September 4, 2008