If there’s one thing that illustrates the hectic, crazy fast pace that my life has held over the past few months it’s this: I didn’t post a birthday interview for my daughter when she turned 14. (Cue up future therapist bill and add this to the list of injuries done to the middle child.) Oh I’ve thought about it from time to time but I never had the time to sit down with her and start writing. So as we approach her first day of high school, I decided this could not go on any longer.
Way back in May, I took my newly 14yo someplace that was new to both of us: a tattoo parlor for her biggest birthday gift – a cartilage piercing in her upper ear. We kept the birthday fun going with a fun dinner and painting class night. As is now tradition, she got to celebrate her birthday for a second time later in the month with her grandpa and uncle who share the same birthday month. Her other gifts reflected her sense of style and personality – everything from knit beanies to converse high tops to funky jewelry.
She is still the most stubborn child in the house but she’s opening herself up to some new experiences. The year she was 13 she ran the Sunburst 5K, went canoeing, walked Mackinac Bridge (with FAR LESS complaining than her first time) and hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains. She challenged her clarinet abilities with an advanced selection for the state music competition. She took on a huge task of patience when she made her mother’s birthday dinner: homemade ravioli soup. And she voluntarily and cheerfully woke up early on a weekend morning to cheer for a friend of our family who was running her first marathon.
People at our church know Miss E quite well. She is still an altar server and also plays her clarinet during some Masses – even when it means going to Mass twice the same weekend. She made her confirmation this year as well and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a face glow so much with the Holy Spirit. Before we left the cathedral, she even managed to snag a selfie with our new Bishop. She was a music leader for Vacation Bible School. She was active in the church youth group. And she was the narrator for our church’s Passion play.
She hung out in Chicago multiple times, took her first cab ride, and got to see Blue Man Group. She joined the high school marching band and has already marched in not one but two parades. She competed in both the Spell Bowl and Academic Super Bowl teams at school. And for the first time in a long time, she did not forget her lunch on the first day of school.
She’s the one child that I know always has a lot going on in her mind. She fills notebooks with poems and stories and thoughts. She reads so fast I wonder if it’s by osmosis. She is caring and kind. She is a champion for those who are the slightest bit different. Best of all, she is true to herself. I love listening to her – even if it is a challenge on those days where she has so much to say and speaks so fast it’s like she’s afraid she’s going to run out of time to say it all.
These are a few of her favorite things from the past year:
color: periwinkle blue (In fact, she would like to dye her hair this color.)
food: lobster ravioli from the fancy Italian restaurant we went to in Chicago on the night we saw Blue Man Group
dessert: homemade red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting
part of school: Sigh… Social Studies class. Because I like to learn about that kind of stuff.
sport: tennis – to play but I really like watching hockey
thing to do: Oh this makes me sound really lazy: watch Netflix or YouTube
game: Ticket to Ride
tv show: How I Met Your Mother on TV. My current favorite YouTuber is Tyler Oakely… or John Green… or both!
song: Fly Away by Five Seconds of Summer
book: Harry Potter – still… “always” for those Snape fans out there
restaurant: Station 21 – I like to order their mac & cheese
time of year: Fall because I like to wear big sweaters and the leaves are so pretty.
animal: An owl.
What did you request for your birthday dinner?
Homemade mac and cheese. And then homemade red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese frosting. (editor’s note: her mom was busy that day!)
What is something that can always make you smile?
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A writer Can I add princess too? The coolest princess who writes the best books.
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
Rome because of the mythology and history and food… I’m ready to go!
What do you love about your family?
Let’s start with J… I like him because he always finds the positives in things which helps me see the positives. I like hanging out with K and talking about random things. It’s fun to talk with her. I like to listen to music with Dad. And I like to talk about books with mom.
What were some of your best memories from this past year?
Oh Smoky Mountains were awesome! I loved getting to spend the night and see a show in Chicago – that was a lot of fun. I really liked finishing middle school. Being done with middle school is very nice. I loved the school band trip to Great America.
What are some of your wishes for this year?
I would like to survive high school. I would like to not completely ruin my GPA. I want to make new friends. I want to read lots of books and watch lots of movies.
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.