That's Me

That's Me

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sweet 16

Amazing Grace is 16.

I was there on her birth day & I have never forgotten the date or time (2:19p on Sept. 17), yet she still felt the need to remind me--& everyone else in the house--several times a day, every day, for the last couple of weeks:
"Guess what's coming up!" 
"There's an important day coming up!"
"Someone's Birthday is coming up!"

Of course I would say things like, "My Anniversary!" To which she would reply, "You're old, no one cares about the day you got married!" (Don't take her seriously. Not only does she know better than to talk to her Mama that way, but she also has her Mama's sense of sarcastic, sassy humor.)

Or "Yup, my Birthday is the end of October!" & "Aw, that's so sweet that you're so excited about your little sister turning 13."

With each of my answers, she would let out a sigh that would blow down the 3 little pigs' brick house & throw herself down on the nearest flat surface--chair, table, bed, floor--with a, "Moooommmm!!" & a little pouty face that would make any father melt. 

Sunday night Amazing Grace was so wound up & excited that I knew she wouldn't get any sleep. At exactly midnight on the 17th, my door flew open & 2 children pounced on me. One was wearing a bra & sweat pants with a towel on her head. The other had hair that was flying in all directions & huge eyes. The one without a shirt would be one of my Extra Daughters & the other would be the one who inherited the crazy hair from me. 

She grabbed me & yelled, "I'M SIXTEEN!!" & giggled like only a teenage girl can giggle. It was wonderful! 

I think I'm just as excited as she is. Together we ran to her sisters & woke them up. Ginger Girl just gave what sounded like a pirate's 'arrrrrg' & rolled over. Blondie sighed, "oh gosh" & then sat up. Then she got sad & said, "I wanted to be the first one to say it!" Blondie loves her big sister to pieces & it really did crush her to not have woken up on her own to be the first to say happy birthday.

In the entryway to greet her
when she got home.
I decorated the entire house & outside while Amazing Grace was at school yesterday. I had banners, streamers, crepe papers, you name it I had it. I never had a Sweet Sixteen party & I always wanted to go all out for my kids when they turned 16.
Frogs (her favorite)
on her bedroom door.

4 cans of silly
string later--she's
not thrilled.

Her favorite part of the outside decorations.
She loves her
Birthday glasses.

Placemats with her picture.
I'm so happy for her. This is the beginning of getting used to adult freedoms & the responsibilities that come along with those freedoms. I have just 2 more years to guide her & help her as she becomes an adult.

Besides the excitement, I've felt a little bittersweetness (the red squiggly line tells me I made up another word) going on this week. This Birthday has been painful for me & that's never happened before over any of the kids' Birthdays. Soon she'll have that driver's license & be driving on her own & that terrifies me.

I hear the statistics about teen drivers & accidents; she'll be driving on roads that are known for their higher rate of accidents. I know I have to just hand it over because I can't control what happens to her, but dang it, I wish I could. Like a lot of other parents, I'm scared of the what ifs.

It's also hit me hard how fast she's grown up. Just yesterday she was that sassy 2 year old spouting her own middle name at people when she's mad, as if she thought everyone must have the same middle name. (that's also when I realized I used her full name when she was naughty) Wasn't it also just yesterday when she was 3 years old & whispering things about a Pummel Lion to her 2 year old brother? Telling him that he had to go right to sleep because the Pummel Lion would come out of the closet if he didn't? (which I didn't learn about for several months--I thought he was just a great sleeper) And holding his hands between their car seats in the back seat & singing him to sleep when he would ask her to? That was yesterday, right?

16 years ago, a tiny little bundle with big gorgeous blue eyes & the cutest little sneeze I'd ever heard, became the most important person in my life (for 17 months, until she became a big sister anyway). I didn't know it was possible to love someone so much & at first sight. There is no love like a Mom's for her child, it's true. It's an overwhelming feeling that you can't describe.

When Amazing Grace was in the hospital in April & I was told she may not make it, I was begging God to take me instead. I have never before wanted to bargain with God & make him see things my way as badly as I did those terrifying days & nights in the hospital. I have been through a lot in my life & many times when I didn't think I'd survive what was happening, for the physical or emotional pain. None of those situations even come close to what I felt in that hospital while sitting next to her bed. And again in June when I answered the phone to hear those words I will never forget, "There's been an accident."

This child who surprised us all when I was 16, changed the course of my life. If I hadn't had her, I wouldn't be here right now. I would be living somewhere else, doing something different. I would love to go back to 15 year old me & say, "Your dreams are awesome & you will get there one day. First you're going to take a detour & as scary as it will be when it starts, it's going to be the best adventure of your life. It will be worth all the side roads you go down because you will do it all with the best gift of your life by your side. When you later go down the road to meet those awesome dreams coming true, you won't be alone. You got this, babe."

She's been by my side for so many things I've gone through: sadnes & stress & happiness, physical pain, emotional pain, falling in love, getting married, going to school, many changes. And she's helped me for years with her siblings, when I had to lean on her as the "other adult" in the house as a single Mama & when I need her to put the smack down so I can study in quiet.

In a sense, I grew up while raising Amazing Grace. I grew up mighty fast before she was born so that I could prove to everyone that I would be a good Mom, but you can't do years worth of growing up in the short months of pregnancy. Growing up together has led to us having a unique bond & several times a day one of us reads the other's mind or speaks for the other. I know the second she's changed her mind about something, I feel her emotions as if they're my own, & I can answer for her without ever being wrong. There have been times when she has come to me from another room to ask me what's wrong, without having even seen or heard me.

I love the person she has become. She really is Amazing. She's caring, helpful, outgoing, funny, beautiful, talented. When she puts on her diva act, it cracks everyone up, because that's not who she really is. As a girl her age that she just met the other day said, "You're the nicest 'popular girl' I've ever met." She has a big heart & will do anything to help someone & is always there for her friends & family.

How many people can say that about teenagers? And you know what, since I raised her, I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for giving her the foundation for who she is.

Instead of that tiny little baby who stressed me out with colic & that busy toddler who sang & danced the majority of her day, I have a beautiful almost-adult. Who still loves to sing & dance as often as she can.

I made her her very own
giant cupcake.
"Hey! How am I supposed to
blow them all out when
they're spaced out
like that? Brats!"

"All mine!!" 

Happy Birthday, my Doodle Butt! I love you more than I have words for. Remember: you made me a Mom.

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