Our first born turned 16 yesterday. For her birthday she got two Year 11 half yearly exams and the beginnings of a head cold. Today (supposedly a study day – that she incidentally wanted to go to the movies on) she is worse. (We negotiated a half day out, but she pulled the pin herself this morning.) It probably won’t go down as one of her favourite birthdays ever!
We did go out for dinner, but overall it’s been a fairly low key birthday year for her. She didn’t want a party – she seems to have a collection of different friends that don’t necessarily get on with each other, and although we offered a few times, she knocked back the offer.
And, after the brand new road bike she got last year, this is a bit of a quiet year in the parental gifting department. Her dad and I are taking her to a local Comedy Festival performance next week, and I am taking her to the SYTYCD Top 20 tour in Sydney in July. We’ve given her some money to put towards something she wants to buy. That something happens to be a ‘web slider‘. A ‘qwerty’ keyboard fancy schmancy mobile phone, that does everything but cook your dinner, so it seems. At $199, apparently it is “cheap”!!! Amazing the different outlook on the world that Generation Why? has. (According to teh Daddy, it’s not that great cos it’s not 3G, but what would I know, except for the fact that I’d be even more nonplussed if she wanted to buy a mobile phone for $400!)
Anyway, with money from us and her grandmother, she had enough to cover the cost, and so I picked it up for her today. With money from the other grandmother she’ll buy some Converse shoes that she intends to handpaint herself.
Sixteen years. It seems both a long time and hardly any time at all. The birth of your first child is a life-changer, and every stage they go through is a bit of an experiment. After 16 years, I’m still testing what works and what doesn’t. Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out, she grows into the next phase, and throws down the gauntlet once more.
But she’s a good kid. Always was, with a bit of spice thrown in to keep us on our toes.
In the few days after she was born, I nearly added ‘Piranha’ as a middle name, for the zest with which she breast fed. (Even the midwives used to wince as she latched on.) And she continued on with that zest, walking at 10 months, and basically not being too shy. She’s never minded a bit of the limelight, and has never been concerned about getting up on stage, or standing up for what she thinks is right. She’s got a high sense of moral outrage – I always reckoned she’d make a good defence lawyer, because she’d argue black was white if it suited! Luckily she usually uses these powers for good.
She’s pretty, smart, sporty, arty, witty .. and feisty. Found an old t-shirt I’d bought her a few years back. “Beauty, brains and Attitude”. That pretty much sums her up. (Needless to say she didn’t agree, and didn’t wear the shirt!) The feisty can be good, and the feisty can be bad. Depends which day you ask me! The feisty can also be lazy, but that’s probably a fairly normal teenage trait.
It’s an interesting age. They want to be adults, but they’re not there yet. In our state they can get their Learner Driver permit. Now that’s a pretty significant step for parents to take, never mind the kid!
It’s the time of wanting to push the limits. “I’m 16 now” will carry much more weight than ‘you’re only 15.’ As long as she’s willing to shoulder the adult-like responsibilities that accompany that, we’ll do ok.
Happy birthday kiddo. I know we drive each other nuts sometimes, but we love you like crazy, and we’re very VERY proud of you.