Sixteen Candles.

My daughter just got the party of her life. It was grand, it was big, I’m redundant, it was awesome.

I didn’t throw it for her.

I’m not upset about this. Seriously, I’m not. She’s lucky she got anything at all! Hell, I’m not a “throw a sweet sixteen” type of mom. I’m a “get you your first tattoo” type of mom. So sue me.

First of all, let it be noted that I never got a sweet 16 party.

I’m not sour about it, I just don’t know anything about throwing this type of shindig. Well, other than what MTV has taught me…

But I never expected a sweet 16. That wasn’t our style anyway (my family) – and in any case my NanaNat had thrown me an extravagant and expensive Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13 (as only a waspy blond shiksa might), complete with me getting “secretly” drunk with all my closest and not so close friends, really long and boring speeches made by myself and my family, and many – MANY – family members and family friends of whom I had no recollection of but who all said “Oh look how much you’ve grown! A young lady now!”. This party was the start of a new tradition within our very waspy family (though my sister and I are technically – yes actually – Jewish, by birth right) where every child who turned 13 was given a special ‘coming of age’ party. It began with me, went on to my cousins and eventually it came to Pups. I did not throw her an extravagant party though. Instead I invited all the most important and influential women in her life at that time and we all shared stories of coming of age and how we were connected to Pups in one way or another. We spoke of womanly things and memories and lessons we learned along the way through our various stages and ages. And Pups, as is her style, took it all in grace. I am positive that this was not the most thrilling ‘party’ she had ever had, in fact I am willing to bet that her Easter egg hunt parties when she was little far surpassed this get together of women. Still she exuded the elegance and stature of a true hostess and grateful daughter. I was not only proud of her, I was in awe of the future her, the woman that I got to see in her that day.

And what an experience it is to see someone grow and change and learn and blossom. Yup, I said “blossom”.

She was born on a beautiful Wednesday filled with sunshine and warm breezes. It was 2:38pm when she arrived and the weather channel reported it was a high of 13 degrees outside. I remember that. I watched the day pass from the hospital window, the sun shone in and filled the room with vitamin D. She was born big – 8lbs 6oz – and round and red! She looked like a little Buddha.

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She was perfect.

16 years have passed and I have been witness to a baby turn into a girl and that girl turn into a young woman. A young woman with dreams and aspirations of dancing and becoming a chemist. I have watched her childlike curiosity turn to real life experiences that teach you and even, sometimes, age you. From an innocent child to a woman with a sense of her own sexuality and a strength in her beliefs and morals based on fairness and equality. A yearning to never stop learning, so much like my sister and mother. An openness to new things and the courage not only to recognize right from wrong, but the courage to do something about it.

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Seriously…I got to watch that all happen right before my eyes guys!

It’s weird to know that my baby, my first, is 16. That I have been a parent, a mother, for 16 years. For half my life I was a teenager, and before I even grew up I was a parent to someone.

Half my life a child, half my life a mother. We grew up together she and I. In many ways she kept me young and I matured her before her time. For a long while we were more like sisters than mother and daughter. So much so that her respect towards me does not come from a natural and expected respect of your mother, but a mutual and earned respect that enabled her – from a young age – to call me on my faults. She has no idea how much she changed my life, or how much she changed me. She was the best mistake I ever made. Because having a baby at 17 is a mistake, do not doubt that. I stunted my education, my career, my young adult experiences that are so vital to grow into someone wise. But having her, well let’s just say that as hard as it was, I have never, not for one millisecond, regretted her. She truly is the best mistake I ever made. She grew me up and taught me how to live.

Her story is so different from my own story, and because of this she is so different – better – than I was then. I can say that, not only because it’s true, but because it really is true. She is SO smart, too smart. She is SO beautiful. Too beautiful. And she is witty and funny and elegant. She is nerdy and goofy and opinionated. She not perfect at all which adds to her awesome. She always has been, and I’m pretty sure she always will be: awesome.

Unless of course she becomes some crazy psycho killer or something… but I think that is highly unlikely, she hasn’t drowned any kittens yet.

So, with all that said, I have to admit – that although I am not a “throw your kid a sweet sixteen” type of mom, I am so appreciative that her step-mom is. In true Filipino style and tradition her step-mom and her dad threw her a giant, extravagant, expensive, super fun, “sweet 16!”. And they are awesome for it.

Because if anyone deserves a really big and super-fun party, Pups does.

Happy birthday Puppy.

In a couple of years I’ll take you for that first tattoo. That’s how this mommy rolls. 😉

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1 Comment

Filed under coming of age, funny

One response to “Sixteen Candles.

  1. Pass on hugs to your daughter from us!

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