My daughter can be a bit of a handful. She always has been. She enjoys making us work. It's her thing. So, when she asked for a cactus, strawberry cake with vanilla icing, and a speech with 15 things we like about her, I wasn't surprised. That's just who she is. She's difficult. And I love it.
Approaching her birthday for the past few years has been something that I faced apprehensively. My father passed away on her birthday two years ago and we've struggled with honoring his memory and still celebrating her birthday. My father adored my daughter and they were incredibly close. This is a big year. She's ready to celebrate. People who love her are preparing surprises for her and honestly, I think my Dad would be angry with us if weren't showering his "Poopy" with gifts.
So, without further adieu, let me count the ways..........
1.You love murder mysteries. Your papaw was a Poirot enthusiast and it warms my heart when I see you reading Agatha Christie!
2. You are a loyal friend. I hate this about you sometimes! Sometimes I think you need to drop people and you just love them even harder. I want to protect you from those types of people that hurt me at your age. You just refuse to stop loving, no matter how many horror stories I tell you about awful friendships. It's admirable.
3. You smile ALOT. Not just those weird toothy smiles that I give people to scare them. Genuine kindness is on your face.
4. You try to protect the world from my wrath. This one is important. There have been so many times when you knew Hulk Kim was enroute, when you'd try to warn people. They don't listen because you're just a sweet girl and they get distracted by your hair. What could you know right? WRONG! KIM SMASH------ KIM SMASH GOOD!
5. You figured out the world sucked this year and you decided to not suck with it. We started this year with some not so nice things happen and you encountered some not so nice people. You could have stayed in the house and hidden but instead, you choose to go out and help people by volunteering.
6. You smell so sweet when you're sleeping. Don't ask me how I know about this one.
7. You have the cutest back dimples. You don't let me tickle them anymore, but you always go to sleep.......
8. Your taste in music is eclectic. I'm going to leave that one alone.
9. You will try any food once. You are so brave and I appreciate your willingness to sample the strange things I put in front of you. The cauliflower pizza was amazing and you didn't even blink when you tried it.
10. You have no clue how much boys look at you. As much as I would like to pretend you aren't an attractive young woman, that's just not the case. Boys look at you and you stare at your books. It's fun to watch them walk down our shopping aisles more than once.
11. You dance your way out of awkward situations. This makes me giggle and I'm positive you got this from me.
12. You cover your head with a blanket when you hear a scary sound in the house. I'm not sure what you think the blanket will do to help you.
13. You understand the patriarchy. Enough said.
14. You understand that the masses who are fighting the patriarchy doesn't necessarily mean they are fighting for girls that look like you. Sometimes I worry that because we've always pushed for you to surround yourself with different types of people that you may not fully grasp the challenges that being a brown girl will entail. I wish I could say that the challenges just came from other races and genders. NOPE. But guess what? You're already aware. I would happily allow you to have a conversation about intersectionality with the best of them.
15. You're okay with me being a mom that doesn't do most things well. I was often terrified during your younger years about what damage I was doing by choosing to NOT lean in when it came to parenting. I wasn't going to make you go to church EVERY Sunday because I like to sleep in. I wasn't going to show up at EVERY school function because I think other people's children are boring. Guess what! You came out fine! Woohooo! I found out that you didn't care that sometimes I just sent a check to the school instead of being the classroom mom. All you wanted was me. Even if that meant getting the Great Value version of those super moms on TV. You didn't die or lose a limb, yet. So, I think I'm doing pretty darned good. Thank you for accepting me and the limited abilities that I have. Sometimes, kids expect their parents to be super heroes. You immediately recognized that your mom was more like Midge, Barbie's regular friend. You recognized it and you loved me anyway.
16. I'm only listing this one because you asked for 15 and I have to be better than what you expect. You tell me how good I look and "pretend" to make me stay in the car at school to keep boys away. You always say it when I need to hear it and that says a lot more about you than you'll ever know. So, again, sweet daughter, you're amazing. I love seeing you grow up. I'm not one of those moms that cries about birthdays anymore. I do feel sad about you finding your way in this world. When you find your way and get your footing, I know your plans won't always include me. It happened to me. It happened to my parents. I'm sure it happened to their parents and the list goes on. You're not perfect, by any means. No one in this house is perfect. Especially me. I curse ALOT. I mean ALOT. :) But somehow, between my cursing and your dad's extreme sense of sarcasm, you still manage to be a human person who lives, loves, and makes silly faces along the way. I can't wait to see what adventures you have in store for us in this next year, even if I'm not included in all of them, I look forward to hearing all about it. Your eyes will twinkle when you tell the story and you'll yell at me for not being a good listener. :) Happy Birthday Brayden!