I waited and waited and naturally assumed that along with my great anticipation of turning The Great 16 there were certainly others anxiously waiting too. Pathetic, really. I guess I hadn't suffered enough disappointment in life yet to arrive at the conclusion that the world did not, in fact, revolve around me. I still believed that what happened in the movies was possible, which is why I avoided haunted houses at all costs and fantasized about a dreamy boy showing up in his sports car to save me on my birthday and kiss me through the window light over my birthday cake. Imagine my disappointment when November 24, 1986 finally arrived, my 16th birthday, and I sat in stunned silence on the stairs of my family home, alone and confused as to why the phone was not suddenly ringing off the hook. I was genuinely surprised that I hadn't corralled my first date on the exact day of my eligibility. Oh, how I want to take that 16-year-old girl and smack her right upside the head. She was kind of a dummy.
Now, that dummy is the parent. And today that dummy's baby girl turns 16. That girl has been given the same rule about dating, and she has respected it. She has used her 16 years here on the planet earth in brilliant fashion - unabashedly trying new things, facing setbacks head on, tackling challenges with determination - that girl impresses her mama. Regularly.
I used to hear mothers regale their birthing experiences with pride while conjuring phrases like, "As soon as I saw her I knew her and loved her." I expected to feel that, and of course I loved her instantly. But I didn't feel like I knew her. Instead as I held that little girl in my arms after she was born I felt like she was on loan; like God was giving me a chance. God was going to let me borrow her - He was trusting me with one of His very own and He was going to let me teach her, show her, love her, guide her. And then I would get to sit back and watch what she did with all that teaching, showing, loving and guiding. What a privilege. As it is, she hasn't really needed me much - I'm not being self deprecating here, just telling the truth. This girl - I have been getting to know her for a while now. I like her. A LOT. She's too smart to think the world is waiting for her to turn 16, and I guarantee she won't be spending the evening on the stairs waiting for the phone to ring. Eventually she will capture some boy's heart and I will officially roll into a fetal position and begin sucking my thumb. I do know one thing, whoever gets this girl is going to have to get past her mama first, and when they do...
...well, I'll try to be nice.
Happy Birthday baby girl.