“Let me photograph you in this light
In case it is the last time
That we might be exactly like we were
Before we realized
We were sad of getting old
It made us restless
It was just like a movie
It was just like a song”
Every year, I try to find ways to tell you how amazing you are. Every year, I manage to throw some words together to let you know that you’re everything I hoped for and more. I usually have a theme for the aforementioned thrown together words. Well, I’ll be honest, I don’t have one this year. You’re turning 15! Sheesh!
This week you and I had a conversation about how excited I am about you growing up, but also how fearful I am of you growing up. It’s not what you think. It’s not because I want to protect you from the world. Nope. You know how to handle yourself and you also know that you have a crazy mom and even crazier dad who will DESTROY anything necessary to make sure you’re safe.
The fear comes from the fact that I will not be able to ride your coattails much longer. The truth is, I’ve been able to be a pretty mediocre mom, because you’re just so freaking awesome. I find myself scrambling to come up with some identity that is my own. You see, being asked if I was your mom, meant that people had already prejudged me as awesome, because they knew you. They knew YOUR character and assumed you got it from me. Little did they know that your character helped mold me from a very young age.
The first instance was when you were a 2nd grader at the local elementary school. A gifted “teacher” was angry that you didn’t believe in Santa and she lied about your behavior. Not a huge lie, but one big enough for me to investigate further. Other adults confirmed what I need to know and we left public school that year. Fast forward a year or two, and we see this “teacher” at a local store. She smiled sweetly at you and said hello. I opened my mouth to pepper her bland potato salad with some spicy expletives. Before I had an opportunity, you said, “Hello, Mrs. ________! How are you!” (I won’t repeat her name, although, I would love to air her out.)You smiled sweetly and rushed me down the aisles. Crisis averted, thanks to your kind disposition. That moment, is one of many, where I ask myself how I possibly could have helped make such a kind, sweet human! (Let’s hope for her sake, you’re always with me, though. Because, if I see her, well, you know about the hot sauce, ok, I’m kidding.)
Sometimes when I’m upset with you, I say, “You’re nothing like me and it’s hard for me to understand you!” On today, I want you to know, more than anything, that I’m glad you’re nothing like me. Yes, you have some of my DNA, but ultimately, the universe has formed you into this amazing human being who goes above and beyond marching to the beat of her own drum.
You have responded with such grace during times of chaos in our lives. You have refused to prejudge family or friends based on my bias and for that, I am immensely proud. I love having those moments when you self correct. As you mature, I want you to know that nothing makes me more proud than observing you being self-aware. You adjust your own behavior and apologize. Real apologies. Not ones with “ifs” or “buts.”
This means that soon, we will be pushing you out of the proverbial nest. Instead of sadness, I must say, I’m excited for this world to experience what I’ve kept to myself for so long. The huge amount of love you have to share and the brightness of your beautiful smile will extinguish any doubt about there being a higher power. I know that sounds huge and probably impossible. But it’s a truth that I’ve known since you opened your gorgeous, big brown eyes and looked at me for the very first time.
In the mean time, I am going to enjoy the smell of your hair and the sound of your horrible jokes. I’m going to relish in the fact that your Dad will never be able to top my birthday tributes to you. Yeah, I know, I know, it’s not a competition, but it is. I know you love us equally, blah blah blah.
I guess I should have some type of cathartic moment that wraps up my ramblings. Here goes:
I love you. You’re brilliant, hilarious, and the type of friend that people search their whole life for. We are beyond blessed to share life with you.