I love my girl. Like crazy. She's 14 now. She's beautiful and brilliant and hilarious.
She's opinionated and she's not afraid to offer up those opinions (even if no one's asked for them). She has few filters. Yet. There are several social issues she believes so strongly in and she's more than willing to speak up for and about them. But she has few filters. Yet.
Though she was a loner when she was little, she is definitely a social creature now. She has an amazing group of friends - girls and boys. She loves them fiercely and she tells them so. She's not afraid of confrontation, though, and if a friend does something she doesn't like, she'll say so. She also processes criticism about herself and tries to make changes when she feels it's warranted.
She doesn't always feel it's warranted.
She is a beautiful writer and the way she strings words together leaves me speechless. She's scared of math. She loves to learn and she'll regale me with the process for conjugating verbs in Spanish or details about The Plague or the War du jour during car rides, so I know she truly is learning and not simply memorizing facts. She's self-directed and organized and she manages her work in a way I only ever dreamed of doing. In a way I still dream of doing.
She gets that from her father.
She's left-handed and right-brained. Creative, she loves words and art and the theater. She'd like to make films one day. And publish a book.
On land, she's less-than-graceful, but in the water, she's a joy to watch. Butterfly is her stroke. Swim team is her happy place.
She works hard... if she's inspired. If not, she coasts a bit.
She loves Doctor Who and Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes. She loves all things English, actually. She reads voraciously. Voraciously. John Green is her favorite author. Right now. She seeks out cool and interesting music, and by the time everyone else catches on to it, she's moved on to another artist or group that's even cooler and more interesting.
She lives in jeans and Chucks and pretty scarves. She wears glasses - cool, hipster-y Ray Bans... and she likes them. Without them, she's blind. She can paint the most amazing designs on her fingernails - designs like Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' and Merida from 'Brave.' She has beautiful hair that she can never quite get chlorine-free.
She calls herself 'weird' and 'geeky' and 'awkward' but believes all of those things are OK.
She has my nose, which she hates, my smile, which she can't deny, and my sense of humor, which she loves. She sounds just like me on the phone.
She's cynical for one so young, and she definitely inherited the sarcasm gene, but she also embodies the positivity of youth that comes from knowing your whole life is ahead of you.
She is not (and has never been) what I would call a sweet child... but she has sweet moments.
She wants a tattoo. One day. And if she gets one, it will likely be a literary quote.
She has a boyfriend. She believed, until recently, that no boy would ever like her and she refused to hear my assurances that many would (and probably already did). And he's cute. Really cute. She wasn't sure she wanted to "date" him at first and when I met him, I said, "How on earth were you not sure? He's adorable!" She replied, "Well, I know he's cute, but looks aren't everything, Mom. I didn't know if I liked him."
She is comfortable in her own body and she doesn't alter her opinion of herself because of advertisements and media influence. When a friend confided that she was trying to lose weight, my girl admonished her, telling her that she is perfect as she is and that she can't compare herself to other girls because everyone has different body types.
She is brilliant.
She makes me laugh. A lot. Sometimes she makes me shake my head in astonishment... in wonder... and in sheer frustration. She is not perfect. She has her moods and her attitudes and there are days when she makes me understand why some species eat their young. Sometimes, when she's being awful, I hug her tightly... because it keeps me from pushing her out a window.
But I love her more every day. And I like her more every day.
Her dad isn't in the picture. He's been gone for so long that she doesn't want him in it anymore. That makes me sad. I loved my dad so much and I wanted that for her, too. But it's out of my control. So I try to be both for her. And so far, it seems that I've been enough.
She talks to me. A lot. I don't think for a second that she tells me everything, but I know she tells me so much of her life... and I know I'm so privileged to hear it. I forget that not all mothers are so lucky. She said to me yesterday, "I don't think you really understand how unusual our relationship is."
I might not.
But I do know how very lucky I am.
I am so very lucky. She is my girl. I am her mom. She is not the child I imagined I'd have. She is so much better than that child. And through her eyes, I see the world differently. I see it as it can be and not as it is. I see it as it should be. She makes me want to be a better person. She makes me strive to be a better person.
She is my girl. And I am her mom.
And I am so very lucky.