sweet sixteen

Do you remember when you turned sixteen? It was like a rite of passage – one that you hoped ended with your parents handing you the keys to a car. I didn’t get a car for my 16th birthday and (spoiler alert) neither did my eldest. Now that you have to wait until you’re at least 16 1/2 to get your license, it makes that gift of a car just a quaint notion.

What did she get for her birthday? A number of things that reflect how she likes to spend her time: a gift card to the local coffee shop where she likes to hang out with her friends; a large stuffed animal to hug when she finds time to nap on the weekends; money to replenish her diminished bank account. We helped her check something off her bucket list by taking her to the city and going to the 94th floor of the Hancock Tower to tilt over Chicago in a large glass box:


She’s a little more daring than she used to be. Though I still see glimpses of her younger self in her need to know as much as possible about a situation before leaping in. The past year she has crossed another one of those invisible lines of childhood. I wasn’t expecting it to happen this year but she’s definitely more mature, more aware, more of a young adult than a child. Of course, as with most teens, she still bounces back & forth as can be evidenced by looking at her messy room and affinity for pretending rules don’t apply to her. (At least I hope those are things she grows out of.)

This year she survived her first high school swim season; earning her first varsity letter as a scholar athlete (which means she got good grades while doing it). She hopped in the car with me on a whirlwind, one-day, 8 hour road trip to meet her new cousin. She listened to live music and explored Nashville on spring break:


She spent a lot of time with friends (as much as possible). And while with those friends she watched the sun rise over Lake Michigan, went bowling, bruised her big toe so badly we thought it might be broken, went on bike rides, and met her new boyfriend Peter Pan:



She held down her first job this year but still found some time to go on a few summer adventures with her mom. We toured the campus of IU Bloomington. We went canoeing. We went blueberry picking. We visited Chicago and wandered around in search of a larger than life macaroni noodle for my macaroni & cheese lover:


We took another trip to Mackinac Island (one of her favorite places). She went to her first homecoming dance. She was an all-star cheerleader on a very cold day as her mother conquered another marathon. She spent Thanksgiving on top of a mountain in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. And I think she’s ready to go back to the Smoky Mountains for more hiking any day.





She’s fun to talk to. She has a sarcastic sense of humor that amuses me greatly. She has so much opportunity in front of her. It’s exciting to watch her start to forge her own path (and slightly terrifying too if I’m being honest). She’s my first-born and, while I’ll always cherish my tucked-away newborn memories of curling up around her to take a nap as the winter sun streamed in the window over us, I adore watching her become the person she’s meant to be.

These are a few of her favorite things from the past year:

color: grey or blue or maroon… I like them all
food: mac and cheese
dessert: banana cream pie
part of school: I’ll say tech drawing to switch it up this year and answer with a class. I’m also a fan of English.
sport: hockey
thing to do: hang out with my friends
game: fooseball (a repeat answer from last year)
tv show: I need more than one: Friends; How I Met Your Mother; and That 70s Show – those are my top three (thank you Netflix)
movie: I watched Dirty Dancing for the first time this year and I really liked it.
song: ONE?!?! Oh my goodness… My jam lately has been “Shut Up & Dance” by Walk the Moon
book: Eleanor & Park
restaurant: Panera (hello, mac & cheese!)
time of year: I’ll say spring because that’s when it starts to get warm again.
animal: Bear… I liked seeing one in the Smoky Mountains.

What did you request for your birthday dinner?
Well that’s obvious: macaroni and cheese. And I surprised everyone with my pick of banana cream pie. (which was a delicious made-from-scratch creation if I do say so myself)

What is something that can always make you smile?
A good knock-knock joke

What do you want to be when you grow up?

If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Rome because I’ve learned about it this year and it seems really interesting.

What do you love about your family?
They are a little goofy and can often make me laugh. That’s cheesy but I’m saying it anyway.

What were some of your best memories from this past year?
Disney World! The whole year was good really. Time with my friends. Bowling. I did a lot of swimming and that’s really all I can remember.

What are some of your wishes for this year?
I want to get my driver’s license. I’d like to get good grades. I’d like to learn how to juggle. Oh! And I want to learn how to knit something besides a washcloth.

Each year I interview my children on their birthdays and write a post about their year. My hope is that someday these musings will spark special memories. Search for ‘birthday interview’ over there on the right to read previous posts.


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