On July 8th, my little girl turned 14. She was 12 the first time a waiter offered her a wine list. To say she's growing up too fast is a huge understatement.
I'm amazed by her, daily. She tries so hard to do the right thing all the time. In fact, the other night, she was updating her iPod and came to me to ask which songs on a particular album would be "appropriate."
She's an incredibly talented artist. Her art teacher at school saw her first drawings for his class and said, "Are you sure you're not some 35-year-old artist, planted here to spy on me?" Here's her self-portrait and "nickname":
Yes, she's a percussionist, with the personality to match!
Here's her rendition of me, as an anime character:
It's very flattering. Ha.
If you're familiar with the TV show NCIS, then you might recognize these characters. She drew them as "chibi" characters, which are cute little chunky things.
You get the idea. She's also an imaginative writer, which delights me to no end. She very much has the creative personality, which causes her to have one foot in the world of her imagination most of the time. I'm afraid something had to give, and it was the tidiness factor. My darling Daughter leaves a trail of stuff everywhere she goes, which comes as a huge surprise to her each time someone points it out.
The fact that she isn't a little girl anymore was driven home to me last week. No, not because of her birthday, but because of something she said.
With my sister visiting with her kids right now, Daughter has given up her room. She stays in my room now, sharing my bed each night. I look forward to getting ready for bed every night, and the wondrous chatter of the day that she lets loose on me. I love every syllable, even as I wonder if the child breathes.
So, we're laying in bed, watching "Ghost Adventures." The guys are about to go into lockdown in an abandoned prison. They are looking through a ledger that lists each death that occurred at the place, and the cause of death.
One poor bastard is listed for eternity as having died of masturbation.
They point this out and move on. I'm a little thankful she hasn't asked about it, when Daughter says, "So, how does someone die of that?"
I laughed. "I don't know," I said. "Probably, this poor guy had a heart attack or something during it and was found that way, so they wrote it down for all of the world to remember him for it."
Daughter is laughing hysterically, "Poor guy!" She settles down and the room is quiet again, except for the TV.
"So," she says. "Now, I want to see them get one of their creepy voice recordings of a man's voice, saying, 'Let's get something straight here...I did not!'"
Now, I'm laughing hysterically. I didn't realize she knew what masturbation was in the first place, and now she's making jokes about it.
See? Constantly amazed. Our home is a crowded and over-run place right now, but I treasure the nights and weekend mornings with her and our peas-in-a-pod moments.
I watch her now, and she's a young woman. A spectacular young woman, with a bright, sensitive personality that I pray serves her well. And I especially pray that she finds a man who appreciates all of that about her, encourages her and never squelches her, inspires her, and truly is by her side for the journey.
She still calls me Mommy.
And no matter what the years bring, I will always see her as she is in this photo.
12 hours ago