She turned 16.
This one, the 8lb baby that made me a mom. In our hospital room it felt like time would stand still. Her full rosy cheeks and head full of dark hair kept me unashamedly mesmerized. Come to remember she was a trend setter with perfect golden tips to the end of her fine hair. Today we would call it ombre. Those first days of motherhood, with it's lack of sleep, move slow - only, not really. As a young family, she moved with us to the midwest for bible college. We wondered if her grandparents would ever forgive us. This little girl, outside of missionary training classes, had mine and her dad's full attention. She walked before she was one, but of course she did. Moving her pink and white Nikes one step at a time, all for applause and sips of apple juice.
This one, the toddler with all the sass. She taught us parenting was not for the faint of heart. She loved her days so much that she would all out fit every night for bedtime. Every shoe in our home became her prized toy, most of the time for dress up, and when all the toys were away because she would not pick them up, the shoe became a baby and a laundry basket a stroller. For her, red glittery flats as birthday wear only made sense. Her hair long to her lower back, perfectly silky with little ringlets at the ends. She was amazing enough to grow an extra tooth right in the middle of her two front baby teeth. The dentist removed it leaving the cutest gap I ever did see.
This one, the dreamer. She would spend hours playing with her American Girl dolls, attending to them like any good mother. Combing their hair and paying special attention to their skin. Always making sure they had a good seat at the dinner table, not any seat, but one that felt honorable. A writer and notetaker from her earliest days. Plans and sketches of a home to comfort children without parents in a place she had never been, Cambodia. Her brother she hoped would be a professional baseball player. She also hoped he would give her lots of money to fund her home for children, where she would live as the mother, and a dreamy someone would live as the father. The year she turned double digits she decided on a different kind of celebration. She asked her school principal to allow her to host a Formula For Haiti contest. The class who donated the most formula would win a pizza party given by the birthday girl herself.
This one, the fan girl. I laugh at typing that, but to know her is to know that she adored all things Justin Bieber. It was just a few years ago that my friends elevated her dreams by planting a life size cardboard Justin at the door, with flowers in his hand, and a recording of him singing happy birthday. Her eyes welled up with tears, and when I asked who was at the door, she replied, "my husband." Always a fan of her friends, and most of the time, her siblings.
This one, the sixteen year old. We just celebrated with at least forty of her friends. In our home, a makeshift teen club, they danced like happy fools. All kinds of people, rich and not so rich, hard core and church goer, black, asian, white, hispanic. Some from our lives in the midwest, some from our time at another Houston church, and even with moving, her many schools represented. I am still shaking my head and wondering how she does it. Never attaching to one group, she floats around all of them, and she would have it no other way. This dance party, she talked about for years, the day came and the day went.
She turned 16.
The years are long, but the days are short.
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