“She is made up of depths even the ocean couldn’t fathom.” Jessica Katoff

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what happens when people only see a photograph of a beautiful person and don’t ever have the opportunity to meet them? How will the world know that their beauty goes so much deeper than the gorgeous sparkle of her eyes or the thick, long curls that elicit serious jealousy from every woman that sees them or the smile that is so warm and inviting you feel better just from seeing it?

I want you to meet Maddie. Clearly, you can see that this girl is beautiful – stunning in fact. But unless you are one of the lucky ones to have met her in person (as I am), what you may not see is she could have been the inspiration behind Jessica Katoff’s quote “She is made up of depths even the ocean couldn’t fathom.”

She is smart. And when I say “smart”, I don’t mean it in a way that is often said of beautiful girls. I mean it in the – “I’m taking AP Stats and AP Calculus my senior year because I love it and I can” smart. I mean it in the – “books are my favorite thing in this world and I just might die if I couldn’t read” smart. I mean it in the – “I am a girl and I am brilliant and I am super proud of that” smart. Really – this girl is smart!

She is heart. And when I say “heart”, I don’t mean it in the “oh, she is so sweet” kind of way. I mean it in the – “I am going to give up my 13th birthday to raise money to find a cure for NF” heart. I mean it in the - “I’m going to start an annual garage sale each summer and work my butt off and enlist all my friends and encourage everyone I know to donate to raise thousands of dollars to find a cure for NF” heart. I mean it in the – “I’m going to be a huge advocate of ‘don’t text and drive’ because I saw what can happen and I don’t ever want that to happen again to anyone I love” heart. Really – this girl has a huge heart!

She is kind. Whenever I see Maddie, I see her greet everyone around her with a warm smile, not because she is an extravert and likes to be the center of attention. Quite the contrary. Her quiet demeanor and shy spirit is usually betrayed by her kind soul that can’t help but peak out from her lips and invite those around her in with a beautiful smile. Whether she likes it or not.

Maddie – today is your 18th birthday. As you begin the next chapter of your life I hope you will always remember how beautiful you are – both inside and out! Thank you for allowing me to see all of that. I hope that your birthday is as wonderful as you are! The world is certainly a more beautiful place because you are in it. Happy Birthday, sweet girl!

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