As you know, I'm not in the habit of writing sappy dear children posts, but this is a rather momentous birthday, so I've decided to go against my usual sarcasm and deal out some sappy. Today you are 193 months old. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Let's start over.
Today you are both Sweet Sixteen. A birthday that is a milestone of grand proportions. You are now able to get your learner's permit, and in 6 months your driving license. You'll be able to drive when and where you want to go, and your level of freedom will seem awesome, but of course there is always responsibility that you're required to remember. It's hard to be 16. It's the step between being a young teen and becoming an adult. You're changing a lot, both of you, and some of the changes are so awesome to me.
Girl, you're starting to believe in yourself, which has been a long time coming. You no longer try to compete with your brother and you've learned to defend yourself from his sometimes irritating behavior. Your choices in friends is improving slowly but surely as you learn that kids who cause trouble get you into trouble, and that's really not that fun in the long run.
This is the year you had terrible trouble with school, where nobody listened to you and made judgements about your character based on what other parents said about you. The school learned the hard way that most of the incidents for which you were blamed had nothing to do with you, and the slate has hopefully been wiped clean.
You proved yourself in your math class this summer to be the capable student I have always said you were. As your confidence grew, you stood taller and felt better about your capabilities and it made me so proud to see how you rose to the top of the class all on your own. In algebra/geometry/trig. Amazing!
This past year is also the year when you struck out on your own as far as fashion and style is concerned. No longer a sheep to local fashion, you made many choices about your appearance that were all your own. Some of them weren't things I liked, like the tongue and navel piercings, but you'll eventually figure out that they're kinda lame. I have faith in you.
This is also the year that you found your own personal music likes and dislikes, and stopped being a follower of what's popular and started liking all different kinds of music. Some of it even I like! Your brother too!
You have become such an awesome kid this year. Oh, you're not without your faults, Miss "in five minutes, just a minute, shush, tell the Boy to do it". You're lazy as fuck, you do not understand that everything in the house doesn't belong to you, and you're a major slob. But all of those things can be changed, and hopefully you'll take the initiative to make those changes sooner rather than later.
I'm SO proud of you, and what a lovely young lady you're becoming. Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl.
Boy, you grow right before my eyes. There are days where I swear you grew inches overnight. You have become a giant this summer, growing several inches in height even without your extreme poofy hair. Looking up at your is kinda creepy after so many years of towering above you. Knowing that you have outgrown everything you own time and time again, sometimes after only a couple of weeks scares the BeJebus out of me. Stop growing already.
This past year was a banner year for your social life. You went from a few friends to a plethora of friends, many of whom believe they actually live in our home. I wish you would set them straight that they have their own homes and their own cupboards to eat bare. Your 'group' isn't the hippest or the sportiest or the cleanest kids in town, but you're a tight group of geeky kids and it's wonderful to see how much you've grown socially over the past year. From a kid who was afraid to make a phone call to a kid who is on the phone until I yell at you to get off, your social abilities are vastly improved.
I love that your friends come over and play board games here. I always wondered if our collection of games was kinda weird, but when I see you all screaming with laughter over Apples to Apples or SceneIt, I know that you have not only found your own social milieu, you've found great ways to entertain your friends. But they eat too damn much.
This was a banner year for you in school. High honor roll, honor roll, excellent grades... all of which are going to help you find the right college. Unfortunately, you made some bad choices, too. Like choosing NOT to attend the SAT prep courses that I paid for. But when your SAT scores came back, and they weren't as high as you thought they would be, you apologized and said that you would take the class in the fall before the SAT in October. Will you? I have my doubts. But maybe you realize that working hard to reach a good score is worth a few weeks of effort.
This is the year that you came home drunk (once) and spent a goodly amount of time very very grounded for that bad decision. This is also the year that you thought it would be a good idea to have a party when I was in Washington. That was another really bad choice. But I have to admit, seeing you act like a 'normal' teenager was such a relief after so much trauma the previous year that it was hard to get too mad at you.
At home however, things continued to be sketchy. You still haven't gotten a handle on personal hygiene, your room continues to be so disgusting that I believe the junkman would look at it with dismay, your clothing isn't changed nearly as often as it should be, and you leave the house an utter pig sty. You are the laziest person on the planet. Every single chore is prefaced with complaints about how much you hate me and how unfair your life is. You cook and never clean up a thing. In fact, you spill things all over the stove every single day and have never once wiped it up, even when I've directed you to do so.
You eat more than Michael Phelps. I do not get how you metabolize so much food. You have your favorites, chili, hamburgers, spaghetti, fish, pizza, all of which you make on your own. You're a decent cook and you seem to enjoy it, but you have not figured out some of the simplest rules of cooking like wash your utensils and pans right away before food congeals on them. I tell you over and over, but you never listen to me. You know more than I do.
You've lost the desire to read, which breaks my heart. You used to love books and now I can't even get you to read the required summer reading. You've taken that love of books, however and turned it into a love of film. I've never met anyone that loves movies like you do, and sometimes you remind me of a young Danny Miller. But I don't think Danny memorizes whole movies.
You remind me so much of Dave sometimes. You have the same taste in TV and most films, and you seem to like most of the same foods, albeit you're a meat man and Dave is a veg. But I think that you're going to grow up and be a Dave type, an independent but really talented guy, partly geeky, very very smart, and funny as hell. You don't know it yet, because you still insist that you hate everything and have no interest in anything, but once you get over the teen malaise, you're gonna soar.
This year is a big one for you. It's your senior year, you have to decide whether or not you're going to take a gap year or go right to college, and you're also going to have to select colleges to apply to. This is going to be a big year school wise too. You're taking very advanced courses (Physics of Music???) and attempting to do coursework like you've never done before. And homework. You might actually have to do some after 11 years of never once doing a damn bit of it.
I know you're going to end up fine, despite all your deficits. You're a strong personality, you're smart as a whip, you are funny and you have so many talents to explore. Getting over the hump of sophomore year has been difficult, but look how far you've gotten. I know you can do it. I have such faith in you. But please, could you TRY not to be such a pig?
I love you both more than you can ever imagine. You've turned my life into something to be proud of, to live for, to love. You're the best thing to ever happen to me, and I'm so proud of you both.
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