I had grand plans for this post. There is such a tribute to be made for the most magnificent daughter ever. You know, that girl-child who steals my flat iron and hair products, who outgrew my shoe size (by several!) last year, and who suddenly looks me straight in the eye ... yes, that one, my Petunia, my -- gasp! -- teenager ... the one who keeps reminding me that she intends for this to be her last. year. at. home. ...
You know, I had no problem turning forty, but this being a mom to a teenager thing is not for the faint of heart. I feel like a deer-in-headlights right now, and I have so much to say but am so very stuck. I have a teenager. How did that happen???
And oh, how she disarms me! She knows just how to make me laugh when I am mad. She knows that tears will work, but at least she uses them sparingly. What gets me most is the very most disarming characteristic she has: she likes me. She does not like when other girls disrespect their mothers, in part out of respect for me. And she does seem to respect me. We get along. And I wonder: what did I do right? How do I write a book about this to make millions?
The truth is, sure, I can take some credit, but the real credit is due to her nature. Petunia loves the whole world, with all of its magnificent flaws -- and she shines her light on those, and she tries to heal them. Her empathy is her greatest virtue and also her Achilles heel. She will change the world for the better. And in the meanwhile, she is outstanding to her family -- the best big sister that any little brother could ask for, so patient and so kind.
She just gets it *right.* She loves life, she loves people, she cares for her family and friends deeply, and she lives so very well with this confidence and grace at which I marvel. And her joy -- wow! It overflows, and it is infectious, and I hope that she never goes a moment without it.
She knows who she is, and she comports herself as such. And she is only thirteen. My God, imagine when *she* is forty. World, just get on your knees, right now, and be grateful that she's on her way.
I could go on and on, but everything I have to say can be summed up pretty easily as "I am so lucky." I get to be her mother, and there is no greater honor.
In celebration this year, I offer a song. Though she came into the world to Berlioz's "Symphony Fantastique" and its magnificent French horns -- in distinct contrast to her brother's entry to "Southern Cross," by the way -- ever since I first laid eyes on her, this has been my song for my sweet Petunia:
"And everywhere she goes, a million dreams of love surround her, everywhere."
Happy 13th Birthday, Sweet Petunia, one of only two people who know what my beating heart sounds like from the inside. Wherever you are a year from now, you will be surrounded by this mother's love, still and forever. xo Mama