How did sixteen years go by so fast?
Remember the dreamy two-year-old who skipped around the neighborhood singing, “Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, chubby little cubby old bear” in her tiny little voice that was already so beautiful?
Remember how you thought you would definitely go back to work after she was born, but the minute you held her it was like an explosion in your whole body and you knew that wouldn’t happen anymore?
Remember frilly dresses that wouldn’t stay clean, “messy” days, ghost stories with Alfredo, musicals with Maddy, and finding crystals with Clara under the slides?
Remember how she was fascinated with the idea of God at the age of six? How she was mesmerized by bible stories, and said we needed to go to church so we spent an entire summer attending different church services in Dallas? Oh - and remember that time at the Knights of Columbus swimming pool when she had a premonition on the slide that someone would drown and within minutes a two-year-old was found on the bottom of the pool (he recovered)?
Remember how people asked if she was angry because her brow was always furrowed and you would explain over and over, “no, she’s just thinking”? She was a dancer, a singer, a doctor, a zookeeper, a writer, a scientist, a linguist, a priest, a teacher, a geologist.
Remember her only babysitter, Audrey, the sweet seventy-year-old who watched her a few hours a week while you worked on the Ph.D you thought you had to have because you couldn’t “just” be a mom? Remember how your heart hurt when you left her and you cried on the way to school and as you pumped milk in the car between classes even though Audrey was perfect for her? Remember your excitement when Audrey said it wasn’t normal for a baby to talk so early and that she would be a writer someday and you knew this was true?
Remember how she walked out of the Austin Waldorf School when she was nine-years-old with the shocking sentence, “I want to homeschool.” And when you couldn’t find words to respond, she had a monologue ready… “I can learn more in the real world, I can read as much as I want, we can go on field trips every day, I can learn Latin, I can have lead roles in plays, I can write and sing all the time.” And that sounded so perfect that you couldn’t say anything but, “why not?”
Today she prepares to drive the car that you didn’t sell, the one you’ve reluctantly saved for her because you know she needs to drive but you’re terrified of it. She’s decorated it with a Flying Spaghetti Monster sticker and a rainbow peace sign.
She loves Richard Dawkins and creation stories of all kinds. She writes deep, dramatic music about life, loss, and love. She wants to become a black-belt and go to medical school, drive an electric car, and eat healthy food.
She usually wears hats, occasionally dyes her hair, keeps her eyes covered in heavy make-up, reads Science magazine for fun, studies Forensics textbooks, writes stories and songs for relaxation and mental health. She’s competitive - not with others, but with herself. She’s an artist and a scientist.
The only time she’s ever claimed to be bored since leaving third grade was during the life-changing three month foray she took into public high school. But, out of that boredom, she learned to draw and peer deeper into human emotions. She came out wanting to change the world.
To my beautiful, complicated, perfect, brilliant, dramatic, sometimes intimidating almost sixteen-year-old: you have changed my life in the most beautiful, complicated, perfect, brilliant, dramatic, sometimes intimidating ways. I love you my sweet sweet girl.