Thursday, January 5, 2012


:age of my eldest daughter, as of today

Twelve years ago today, I was in labor for the first time.  It was the day after Florida State beat Virginia Tech in the BCS championship game.  I remember this because I was tired and went to bed early.  J stayed up to watch the game.  I kept waking up (from contractions, it turns out) and I wandered out from the bedroom to ask J, "Are you coming to bed soon?"  Somewhat exasperated after this happened two or three times, he said, "Yes! When the game is over!  What are you doing up anyway?"  Finally, around 2 AM I woke up to pain in my lower abdomen and had the wisdom to stay awake and see if I might be having contractions.  I was.  Three minutes apart.  Like clockwork.  J didn't get much sleep that night.  A was born about ten hours after I finally realized I was having contractions.

It's hard to believe I've been a mother for a dozen years, but there's no denying it.  Not because I've suddenly figured out how to be a wise, confident and effective parent, but because A is undeniably 12.  Her body shows it.  Her mind shows it.  Her eyes that roll at her father and I when we try to be funny show it.  Definitely 12.

For this year's blog celebration of her, I thought I'd share 12 of my A's favorite things.  You can always tell a lot about someone by the things they love.  Here's some insight into my twelve year old based on what she loves:

Favorite Drink: Water.  Don't offer her juice or milk or fruit punch.  She might have the occasional Sprite or Coke, but well over 90% of what she drinks is water.  She knows what her body likes.  Simple, straightforward, readily-available water.

Favorite Singer: Taylor Swift.  As I mentioned, she's a 12 year old girl.  Surely this entry surprises no one.

Favorite Sister: The one in the other room.  A enjoys her space and is not generally argumentative.  She fights equally with B or K - but far less than the other two fight with each other.  If you leave her alone, she'll leave you alone.  (Which is why she likes her sisters best when they're in the other room.)

Favorite Spot: Curled up in a chair, reading.

Favorite Friends:

From last year's ice skating birthday.  These friends are still her favorites.
Favorite Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner: anything from a restaurant.  For a girl whose mom likes to cook, A is one girl who loves to eat out.  Want her to feel special?  Offer to take her to Sweet 16th for breakfast.  Or Provence for lunch.  Or Zoe's for dinner.  Or Jeni's for dessert.  She likes to eat out.

Favorite Book: the one in her hands.  A reads a lot.  She doesn't keep track of every book she reads, but I think an conservative estimate is that she averages 7 to 10 books weekly.  She definitely reads more than 10 books during a vacation week and she might slip below 7 during Nutcracker or recital week, but the girl likes her books. (Which suits her father and I just fine.  We merely watch her with envy and ponder giving her more chores, for she surely has too much time on her hands if she can read this much.)

Favorite TV show: I started to write about Princess Tutu, a recent Netflix find that offers ballet, manga-style.  Then I realized nothing tops So You Think You Can Dance.  This show is a favorite of our entire family, but we started watching it for A.  It has exposed her to many different styles of dance and unlike Dancing with the Stars, the costumes are generally rated PG, not R.  She will often hear a song on the radio and say, "Oh! Tad and Lauren danced to this.  Remember?"  Only she's the sole member of the family who can remember every routine she's watched over the last three seasons.  It's amazing how good her memory can be about the things she likes!

Favorite Color: Green.  Not sure why, but there you have it.

Favorite Way to Earn Cash: Babysitting.  Not that she's actually had any babysitting gigs yet, but this girl is a natural born babysitter.  She loves her younger cousins and wants to hold the baby the entire time we're visiting.  Today at our homeschool group gathering, she spent as much time smiling at a 15 month old as she did chatting with her friends.  I see a calendar in her future packed with weekend babysitting gigs.

Favorite Time to Arrive: Early.  This child hates to be late.  And I do mean hates.  One Saturday last year, I misunderstood and thought her ballet class was canceled.  The teacher called me about 10 minutes after class was scheduled to start and asked if A was coming.  I told A to get dressed and we sped over to the studio.  A was a wreck the entire time, despite the fact that her teacher knew it was my mistake.  She truly detests being late. She gets this from her father.

Favorite Thing to Do: Dance.  And I think she was born to do it.  A is not an extrovert.  She's not a girl that you meet and think, "Wow. I best she loves being on stage."  So I asked her one time whether she likes to dance in front of people.  She paused to think, then shrugged.  "Well, yeah.  That's how you do it."  It brings her joy and her joy is so clear to the audience that I think it brings them joy as well.  It certainly brings me joy to see her doing something she loves and doing it to the best of her ability.

My favorite picture of A from her 11th year of life
Happy Birthday, A.  I look forward to seeing you grow into a name that is so apt for you.  You are graceful and gracious.  It is sheer grace to parent you.


J said...

Happy Birthday A! I love you.

You're blessed to have a mom that writes these blogs, so someday you can look back and say to yourself "Self, I forgot I liked the color green!"

Keep reading, A - it will reward you your entire life.


Kim said...

Happy Birthday sweet A! If I had a daughter I think she might be a lot like you (since I see in you lots of traits I have.) Have a special day!!

EJN said...

How lovely is she?! Happy BIrthday, A! Congratulations, S&J, God obviously placed her in the perfect place.
Bless her 12th year, and yours of parenthood, a blessing, indeed.
Happy Year to You,