I first met Megan nearly a decade ago, shortly after I began dating her father.

I remember being shocked at her tiny size. She looked far more like a 6 year old than an 8 year old. Her wispy frame made it look as if she could be swept away in even a smallish gust of wind.

Initially, Megan hid behind her daddy’s legs, as if she needed his protection.

But the freckled-cheeks, the greenish-brown eyes, and the sly grin soon gave her away.  I know instantly she was a little firecracker. “Aha,” I thought. “You don’t need protecting. You are like a cat, hiding until it’s time to pounce! And I like nothing better than making friends with people like you.”

As we ate our Chick-Fil-A lunches, I asked Megan about her toy prize. She showed it to me without uttering a sound. She silently stared at me, while I gushed about the really cool science kit that had come in her kids’ meal. “Look, Megan! This is a fun experiment you could do with your daddy! Here are the instructions … you put milk in this little bowl that came in your kit, and add some food coloring. Next, you …”

Megan interrupted me. “Nah. I don’t like science experiments. I’m gonna use this bowl for playing with my dolls.” She reached out and took the plastic bowl from my hands, leaving me with just the instruction sheet. I smiled at her, and knew my initial thoughts were correct.

This girl had spunk … and lots of it, too.

The second time I met Megan almost didn’t happen.

Her dad invited me to spend New Year’s Eve with him and his girls. But when Megan found out about it, all of her spunkiness came out. She made it very clear that she did not intend to have me or any other guest barge in on her New Year’s Eve celebration.

I told Jon I understood … and I did. I honestly didn’t want to be in the middle of their party, especially if his girls weren’t sure they wanted me to be there.

“Go spend time with your girls. Don’t worry about me. It’s all okay. No hard feelings … promise!” I tried to convince him I would be just fine home alone on New Year’s Eve.

But Jon really didn’t want to know I was home all by myself. He was determined to have me be a part of his New Year’s Eve “party.”  So Jon spoke with Megan, and finally Megan agreed to “think about it.”  But the big surprise came when Megan decided she would like to talk with me.

The next thing I knew, I found myself engaged in a phone interview with an 8 year old girl.  And let me just say: This was the hardest interview I have ever had! Megan quizzed me long and hard. I guess I must have given all the right answers because ultimately Megan decided to permit for me to come over. 

However, in the process of being interviewed, I came to understand one of Meg’s biggest concerns was that Jon and I would ignore her.   I recognized the real emotion underneath it all was concern that I would take her daddy away from her. Of course, this was not my intention at all … but how do you convince a  young girl of that?

I thought long and hard about it, and decided to play a little hard ball with her.  I decided that the best way to convince Megan that I didn’t want to take her daddy away from her was to intentionally woo Megan to myself. Now all I needed was a plan to capture her attention. I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with an elaborate scheme, but I was determined.

So I went into my overflowing craft closet and threw together a few special activities I hoped Jon’s girls might enjoy, and I specifically picked activities so girly no daddy would ever want to participate.

When I walked through the door of Jon’s home with my big box of craft supplies, Megan’s eyes grew wide with excitement. And by the time we had completed all of my craft activities, Megan and I had gotten to be very good buddies . Jon was just elated he got to watch an entire football game in peace.

Later that night, as I drove away from their home headed back to mine, I watched the fireworks lighting up the night sky. I wondered about what good things the new year might hold. I had no idea what 2010 had to offer, but I had hope it would be good.

And it was … for exactly one year to the day later I became Mrs. Jon Hamilton.

With that title, I got another role to play:

Stepmother to spunky, little Megan.

Today Megan turns 18.

In honor of her birthday, I’d like to share 18 of my favorite photos of Megan … along with a few of the memories they represent.

  1. This photo was taken at the Lafayette Children’s Museum. Jon and I were knew our relationship was growing more serious, so we were finding ways to get our children together. It was the first big outing we took all five kids on, and overall the day was fantastic for everyone. I love this photo because it shows how much fun Megan is to do things with. She has a zest for life!

2.  The queen sits on her panda throne at the Alexandria Zoo. This was another outing Jon and I took our kids on during the spring of 2010. You can definitely see Megan’s spunkiness in this photo.

3.  Right after Jon and I were engaged, we went on a weekend retreat with his church to Lake Fosse Point. By this time, Julia and Megan were BFF’s. I think this is my favorite photo of the two girls because it clearly shows the love they had for each other. Megan is a great sister, and not just to Julia.

4.  Jon was critically ill and nearly died before we had a chance to be married. He spent 2 weeks in the hospital before our wedding on December 31, 2010. This meant he was there for Christmas. One of my favorite memories is of Jon’s girls coming to see Jon at the hospital on Christmas Day. Megan has always been a Daddy’s girl.

5.  The first birthday cake I ever made for Megan. It was her 10th birthday.

6. One thing I love about Megan is that she likes to celebrate in style!

7.  Megan might be something of a princess at times … but she isn’t afraid to be messy either. Here she is eating S’mores at Kaytee & Poppa’s house in the summer of 2011.

 

 

 

8. Best.Picture.Ever.

Megan gave her heart to Jesus on 10/10/10. One year later, her daddy had the privilege of baptizing her in a swimming pool.

9.  When her older sister Maddie wanted to go to a CYT drama camp, Megan was determined to help her find a way to pay for it. She rallied Nathan and Julia. Together they created this lemonade stand to help raise money for Maddie. I have always loved Megan’s thoughtful and creative ways of being helpful. 

10.  Soon after Jon and I got married, I enrolled the kids in 4-H.  Megan didn’t really want to be in 4-H … until about halfway through the first meeting, when she decided it actually sounded like a lot of fun. One of the first things she learned to do was sew. Here she is with a quilt block she sewed for a family friend. Though sewing isn’t her passion, she is very creative and quite capable of using a sewing machine.

11. Megan is a great writer, something I can definitely appreciate. Twice she was a 3rd place winner in the state LouisianaWrites essay contest.

12. Not only is Megan creative, but she is also quite smart. She was a member of the 1st place Horticulture Team at the state contest in 2015. Megan is definitely a blue-ribbon winner in my book!

13. Megan has been a 4-H camp counselor many times … and she is always a favorite among the campers.  I think it’s because she spends hours each day braiding dozens of little girls’ hair!

14. For three years, our family took in foster children. Megan was always a help to me, sweetly caring for the kids in our home.  Here she is encouraging one of them to feed the llamas at the zoo.

15.  When Julia had her second knee surgery, the ONLY person she wanted to see was Megan. As soon as Julia was in a private room, Megan came to visit and immediately hopped up into the bed to watch TV with her younger sister. Her calm and comforting spirit helped make Julia’s recovery easier.

16.  Two months later, it was Megan’s turn to have surgery. She had SVT, and needed to have an ablation on some nerves in her heart. It was encouraging to see Megan’s faith help get her through something very scary.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17.  She’s lovely … and still just as spunky. Her dad is still wrapped around her little finger, just as a dad should be.

18.  Happy 18th birthday to the most beautiful 18 year old girl in the world! We love you and are so proud of all you have become.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~Ephesians 2:10

Megan, you are indeed a masterpiece! You are a blessing to me!

I love you. ~Gigi

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