March 11, 2003--the day you were born--was a very welcome sunny day after a typical Utah cold spell. March had come in like a lion, but was working on going out like a lamb, and it chose your birthday to turn on the sunshine. I wasn't feeling well (probably because I was starting labor) so Mamah came over to watch Bria and help me out. We spent some of the day just sitting out on the lawn and enjoying the much needed warmth.
It's all so apropo, because you are a sunshine person. You are almost always happy and smiling. You are sweet, kind and generous. You are a friend to everyone around you, no matter what others think. It makes me so proud to hear the stories that come back to me from your teachers and other observers about how you make a point to play with those who don't really have any friends at recess. You hate to see people sad, and you will do your best to help them to smile, no matter what it takes.
The Hawaiian name we chose for you is La'akea, which means "Sacred Light." I believe it fits you to a tee. You truly radiate the light of Christ in your generosity and kindness to others.
This is a letter you recently wrote to me:
You love music and performing and art. You draw beautiful things on a daily basis and recently had one of your pieces featured at an art show! You didn't care though, you were actually annoyed that you haven't been allowed to bring that particular piece of artwork home.You are still doing very well on the piano and you are also currently rehearsing in the University production of South Pacific, in the role of Ngana. You come home from rehearsal so happy and tell me how much you love singing for other people. I get it, but I didn't get it at age 8! I'm not surprised, though, because you've always been my musical theater junkie. I'm so proud of you and can't wait to see you in the performances next month! I'll be at every one.
Right now, you are in love with your American Girl doll, Rebecca. She goes everywhere with you, within reason. You play for hours with her and it reminds me of myself at your age with my own doll. I got her when I was 7 and played with her for hours a day until I was a teenager. I hope you'll do the same.
All you wanted for your birthday was clothes and things for Rebecca. So, that's what you got. I love watching you open your gifts because you are just so darn thankful. You squeal with excitement no matter what you get, but when it's something you REALLY wanted, you scream. And you always fly at the giver with one of your signature tight hugs. It makes people want to give you the world, even though some of the girls at your birthday party weren't quite sure what to think of your big hugs and happy shrieks.
I'm so glad when I see how much you love the Gospel and the Lord. You want so badly to do what is right, and I have so many stories I could share with you about how you have done that. This birthday was a particularly special one because you would also be baptized. Your baptism was the day after your 8th birthday, only a couple of hours after a crazy fun birthday party with your little friends, but it was the best way to end the birthday celebrations that I know of.
You were so excited to make this covenant with God. The program was beautiful: You chose Sister Karn, our Primary President to give a talk, along with Mamah. You and I sang Teach Me to Walk in the Light together. While you sang beautifully, I could barely make it through because I was trying so hard not to cry and was rather unsuccessful. Daddy baptized you and confirmed you and bestowed upon you the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and all present felt the Spirit very strongly.