My baby is 17. Seventeen, people.
She can drive. She can see an R-rated movie (ugh). She works. She is taking AP classes. She is receiving college mailings by the dozens. She is a good friend. She has a steely sense of right and wrong. She is outspoken, but can hold her tongue. She is caring and kind and creative. She is an accomplished world traveler. She reads for pleasure and writes with joy and clarity. She is confident enough to go to school dances without a date. She is banking and budgeting. In 366 days, she can pierce or tatoo her young flesh without my knowledge or permission (sigh). She rises before the rest to go to practice at school. She is getting ready to fly.
A daughter is different than a son.
She is a surprise. She is a delight. She is transparent. She is a mystery. She is many things I am not. She is me, a part of me and yet not me. I "get" her. When she falls, it hurts. When she soars, I know the feeling.
I want for her to have so much more than I have and how can that even be possible, when I have been given so much? I'd like her to have all that she wants (health, schooling, career, home, husband, family, travel, success--whatever), but none of the pain that inevitably comes with the acquisition of these blessings.
I could not love her anymore. I could not love her any less. I love her because she is mine.
And when I contemplate the love of a parent for a child, in my imperfect, puny, tiny way, I understand my Heavenly Father who delights in, weeps over and advocates for His precious children.
Happy Birthday, Lou. I love you, little girl. Always have. Always will.