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Happy Birthday, Charli!

July 14, 2012

 

My sweet baby girl is turning 16 today.

16 is one of those weird milestones that bash parents in the head, even more so for a daughter than a son (though maybe that’s not true for moms…).

Charli has always been mature for her age; comes from being an observer, I think.  Even as a toddler, she’d crawl off to the edge of the crowd and rock back on her Pampers, work her red suckie furiously and watch what everyone else was doing.  If she wanted something, she’d point at it and look at her year-older brother who would fetch it for her.  She still does that and he still complies.   Go figure.

She never lost that watchful attitude as she got older, preferring the fringe and ordering her brother around, occasionally throwing her arms around him for a big hug, which he endured patiently.

Their relationship is so different than my sister’s and mine.  Ben will tell her anything, and in her maturity, if she thought it was harmful, she’d tell us.  He would always forgive her.  No, that’s not right.  He never harbored an offense to begin with.

Charli is cursed with being good at everything she tries (she’ll frown when she reads this, creasing the space between her brows thinking it isn’t true, but she knows it is).  As a result she reserves her passions, treasuring little to herself.  I suppose that’s why she does have a passion for horses.  Though a natural even with this skill she was never taught, the challenge is the unavailability of horses in her life which drives her.  She’s a suburban kid, that weird ‘tweener of city dweller and country folk and yet neither.  We are the Wonder Bread of culture, yet she easily fits on the range and has the beauty to thrive in the city (though I’m truly glad she has no interest in urban dwelling).

I think what most amazes me is her ability to write.  It took me decades to get as good as she was when she first gave it a try (no exaggeration).  Like me, she struggles to complete things, though.  Sigh.

Virtually everyone assumes Charli is older than Ben (and he doesn’t mind; in his head they are twins); yet I’ve adjusted to him driving and it surprised me when I realized Charli will be eligible to drive now, and not just because that means our insurance rate will climb again.  When I pointed that out, she shrugged, “no hurry.”

As much as she likes to hug, Charli has never been a snuggle bunny.  Her sister has spent hours curled in my arms, but not Charli.  I think it destroys her sightlines.  Still, we enjoy a closeness that mental familiarity fosters.  She’s beautiful outside, but all me inside.  Well, fewer hard edges and far less sin, but she always knows what I’m thinking and when her behavior bewilders her mother, I always get it.

I think 16 is such a danger to parents because we know that means the kid won’t be a kid much longer and God will take her out of our nest and find her a nest of her own.  I don’t look forward to that day at all.  So I’ll ignore that brick as much as I can; continue to enjoy my little girl and evil-eye all boys who look her way.  I’ll pretend that those eyes which have always looked into the circle aren’t now looking outward.

I’ll pretend.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2012 12:36 pm

    Such a sweet birthday tribute. Happy Birthday to Charli.

  2. July 15, 2012 5:47 pm

    I’m belated, but Happy Sweet 16 to Charli. We did see and very much enjoy the yard full of chickens! 🙂

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