My little girl turns 15 today and I am (weirdly? surprisingly? vaklempt-ly?) emotional about it. I didn’t get this way with my firstborn (a son) and I imagine I won’t get this way with the younger boys either (because naturally I have confidence they will both reach every year of adolescence with a Nerf sword in hand). And my feelings have little to do with my daughter’s incessant request for a belly button ring. (An aside: I really don’t have an issue with this – call it admirable jealousy: I clearly didn’t have her cute figure when I was a freshman. Nope, she’s battling her dear ol’ dad on this one.) Yet I’m strangely flooded with pensive memories of the significance of this milestone.
Fifteen was a good year for me. My two closest girlfriends at that age are still in my life today and hugely important to me. I make my daughter aware of this often. Fifteen was also the year my tender heart was broken for the very first time (oy vey, Adam Boyar), cementing my lifelong attraction to funny, Jewish guys (which clearly explains my utter enjoyment in Ben Stiller and Jon Stewart but curiously casts a light on my eventual choice in soul mate – a Greek/Puerto Rican/Catholic charmer…). Hmmm….
Still, everybody knows: fifteen today is waaaaay different than fifteen of then.
I feel for her.
I fear for her.
And I forever wish that her good sense remains unclouded when the rains fall and heartache beckons.
For her birthday, along with the designer sneakers and other items (that WILL be returned, I am sure of it) I got her something special. I commissioned a handmade pen and ink calligraphy of her favorite song, “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift. It is a song I am unable to listen to in its entirety without tearing up (“…..and Abigail gave everything she had to a boy…who changed his mind…”). It was meticulously crafted onto pale pink parchment paper and was framed to match her bedroom. It is beautiful.
And taped to the back of it is a card from the artist – my best friend at fifteen – who devilishly inserted a photo of the two of us, arms entwined, from 1981.
Proof that true friendships last.
Proof that strong beautiful teenaged girls survive fifteen.
Proof that even though tempers flare and hatred is hurled, our moms are always, always, always going to love us. And cry at songs that remind us of being a girl.
Happy Birthday, my sassy, sharp, and stunning Carson. You are the light in my life (and one day you’re going to laugh when you find out your dad has nicknamed you “The Fury” during this oh-so-fun time in your life).
2014 Update: Fours years later, my lady, my love, is a college sophomore today. She survived fifteen with grace and wisdom that carried her through sixteen, then seventeen, and eighteen and finally nineteen years old. She surprised me with an impromptu visit from college tonight — her first time home since August. I am happy beyond words and — apparently — feeling a little nostalgic. xoxo