God smiled on my baby girl this morning in honor of her seventeenth birthday - He provided overcast skies and a few sprinkles of rain. Most people would want sunshine on their birthdays, but TG is working as a counselor at a day camp this summer; she yearned for a break from the sunshine and triple-digit temperatures.
She won't have time to celebrate today, between her daytime job and nighttime Microeconomics class at Austin Community College. "Maybe" she'll do something this weekend to celebrate; she's "not sure. It might be next weekend."
Birthdays were so much easier when she was little. Determine the date, send out invitations, make a cake, order pizza, rent some movies, spend a sleepless night listening to little girls giggling, spend the next day cleaning up...okay, maybe they weren't any easier back then, either.
I haven't gotten used to the idea that she is seventeen. I went through this with the boys, too, but it's more intense this time - she's my baby. I can't even imagine how my parents feel - I'm their baby and I just turned forty-nine! Whoa - I don't want to jump that far ahead of myself right now. Seventeen is tough enough to swallow.
I remember my first day back at work after her birth, walking around the sulfur recovery area of my plant with a new, obviously very chauvinistic, male employee. Normally I would have argued with him when he said women should be home with their babies, but on that day, I agreed with him. I quit my job of thirteen years after only six hours. Tom took it pretty well, considering it cut our combined income by two-thirds. I just couldn't go through leaving a baby at home a third time. I didn't anticipate the loneliness or cabin fever that would hit me, and living on mostly one income all these years has been tough, but we've never regretted the decision.
Sugar and spice is a perfect description of my baby girl. She is sweet, sensitive, sarcastic, and cynical. She is a girlie girl and a tomboy. She cries in private, never revealing weakness or pain, whether physical or emotional. From her first day in pre-school, teachers would place her next to the biggest bully in the class, because she couldn't be intimidated, despite being the smallest in her class. She wouldn't put up with anything, and wouldn't tattle. Everyone assumes it's because she has two older brothers, but she was just born that way.
She is proud, stubborn, smart, funny, and athletic. We've had to be on our toes with her more than with the boys, that's for sure. She has a way of making you doubt yourself. I keep telling her she should be a lawyer - she's great at cross-examination. I'm grateful she was our third, so we had a little experience under our belts before she came along. We knew better than to let her pull us into arguments, although I have to admit, we still forget sometimes. She can be pretty tricky!
She has a heart of gold and the self-confidence of a champion.
She was always so tiny - until she was about thirteen, I could carry her easily from her bed to her chair at the table every morning (she's not a morning person), and at night carry her to bed, her arms wrapped around my neck and her legs around my waist. Tom would say "She's too old for that. I don't want to hear any complaints about your back!" but I'd tell him "She's my baby, and I'll do this as long as I can." Sure enough the day came when her legs were just too long. We both knew it and accepted it.
I still never expected that one day she would be taller than me.
Wow, seventeen. I remember my seventeenth birthday...I wish I still had my journals from then (I was so stupid to throw them away). It would have said something like this, "Had cake with the family, then even though we broke up, Nathan took me out to eat at that barbecue place on Red Bluff and Pasadena Boulevard, next to K-Mart. I'm glad we're still friends." I guess that's all I really remember, and that's only because I have pictures. I wouldn't have a memory without my journals and photographs!
If TG kept a journal (if she does, she keeps it very secret) it would say, "Hurray! It was only about 95 degrees today and overcast instead of 100 and sunny! Christine overslept, so Mom had to take me to work this morning. She stopped at Lago Donut so I could still get my breakfast taco, cheese kolache, and chocolate donut. I wish I had my license! After work, me and Christine went to my house to shower before heading to class. Mom ordered a pizza. She was going to make a cake, and I had to tell her over and over this morning not to - just wait till this weekend or next weekend or whenever..."
Happy Birthday, my beautiful TG! I love you very much!