Friday, August 26, 2011


There were several times today, on my first baby's 14th birthday, that I almost burst open with the pride of being her mother. She knows how to be a friend...and when she falters, she's quick to listen to advice. She's almost freakishly mature for her age. She's almost freakishly mature for MY age.

The stories that really define my girl these days are generally not stories I can tell. Not for me to tell the stories about helping one friend, or soothing another's ruffled feathers, or chiding a third when she seems to be going astray.

So instead, let me tell you about this one day, the day after the day on which Baroy and I helped register her for high school, watched as she picked up her schedule and her ID and her books, and took much longer to get over the fact that she didn't make the soccer team than she did.

Today, Em's 14th birthday, started with her brother jumping atop her on her bed to give her his present...and then continued with him hiding under her covers while I sang Happy Birthday, a song that unaccountably freaks him out, and always has.

It continued, then, with a mother-daughter lunch at Tony Roma's, our special place. After lunch, we wandered around for a short while, then decided the heat was just more than we could bear, so headed home to await her girlfriends, who were finishing up their various color guard/cheerleading practices.

The original plan was for me to take the five girls to a local botanical gardens, where they were planning to a kind of photo shoot. (Em has a camera that's more expensive than the last three I've used put together...but she saved up for and bought it herself, and she uses it, so I have no complaints.) Mr. Sun had other plans, however--plans that included temperatures of over 100 at 5:30 this evening. So, instead, they asked to be chauffeured to the mall. Em wasn't too upset about it; she's been wanting to go to the gardens, sure, but she also had a Forever 21 gift card burning a hole in her pocket, so it was a perfect alternative.

Driving five 14-year-old girls around is something else. And that's all I'll say about that. At least until the ringing in my ears subsides.

Baroy picked them up a few hours later, dropped off the other girls, and returned Em home for her requested family dinner of chicken fricassee. Almost as soon as we finished chewing, the neighborhood kids began to arrive for the annual destroying of my backyard, also known as celebrating Em's birthday in their own traditional, if idiosyncratic, manner. (It involves me having both a cake for them to eat, and a cake for them to smash into Em's face...and then letting it all devolve into a complete free-for-all involving more cake, silly string, and the backyard hose. It's a mess, but it's worth it to watch them scream and giggle and enjoy the hell out of themselves once a year. Of course, I can say that, because it was Baroy who cleaned up after them.)

And now, Em and two of those friends are in a tent in the water-soaked backyard, having a sleepover. Except not so much on the sleep, at least not yet. But, you know, the night's still...well, not so much young as middle-aged.

Lest you think the festivities are coming to an end, there's a trip to the water park tomorrow, to celebrate a few other friends' August birthdays as a group.

Because, really. No matter how mature you may be, you're never too old for a smash cake and some water slides.

Happy birthday, Em. You make my heart sing. I love you.

1 comment:

Meg said...

Happy 14 to Em. My youngest turned 14 yesterday, but with the hurricane here in the east didn't have much of a celebration. Hope she has a great year in school, too.