Friday, May 8, 2009

Remembering 13 years...

My daughter turned 13. She's so much more together than I was when I was that age. (I put the awk in awkward). She reads more. She knows more. She automatically pays attention to detail in a way I still have to consciously consider to manage.

When she was first born, my first words were, "Let me see her." and "She's beautiful." I then said, "That was much easier than the first time."

The nurse washed her up and laughed. "Are you going to have any more?" she asked. Keep in mind, I was fresh from delivery. I smiled, "Oh yeah." Little did I know.

On my 30th birthday eve, she slept through the night. She was two months old. She continues to be a source of comfort.

Having a strong independent streak, one day she decided to color her entire left arm purple. She wore boots with a tutu and a crown on a regular basis before "Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse." When being instructed on riding a bike by her older brother, she rolled her eyes. "I've been watching you for years."

At four, she started pre-school and the first day was a parent/child day. She said she didn't need me. Brimming with confidence, she played, she ordered me to take a picture of her teacher, sans her, and explained when I asked her to share the toys with the other kids, "They get to play with ME."When we left the room, she collapsed in tears. "What's the matter?" I asked, utterly baffled.

"I still don't know how to read!"

She also was fierce with us, but absolutely sweet on Dad. For him, she would try harder, she would study, she would practice piano, she would master how to do the layup and she would study politics to sound impressive.

She now keeps a literal library in her bed, (at last count, 23 books), stacked neatly against the wall for easy reference. She plays the saxaphone and loves orange, purple, the Orioles and anything that seems like it might have come from the elves of Lord of the Rings.

Because this child is also the official organizer of birthdays, she was concerned about her own. Normally, she locks herself in my room and wraps the presents, reminds me to get a cake and whatever number we need from the store and does decoration flawlessly. She frequently acts as a coordinator of games for the younger set when we host a party, and she loves being part of the plan even if we're on top of things.

I promised I would actually get to the details and I did wrap her presents. I even made her favorite cup cakes, or rather, she did with my help. (Chocolate sour cream, no frosting). I was feeding the baby and reading aloud the recipie with helpful commentary. Watching her work and seeing how much she's grown up, its hard and real to recognize that soon, I will be sending sour cream chocolate cupcakes to college (5 years will fly by), and I will remember because there isn't someone there nagging me not to forget.

Happy Birthday Athena, my gentle wise child. My original assessment of her still holds. "She's beautiful."

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