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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Answer Is, Apparantly; 23

*Note: I wrote this entry in November. The idea was to honor a special birthday. However, life, as is usual, threw me a few curveballs and I'm ashamed to say this post went unpublished. So, my darling girl, if by chance you make it over here and read this, late though it may be, remember that every single day that goes by, I love you more. And I'm sorry this didn't make it to print ON your birthday. Sometimes, I just plain suck.

True, we Douglas Adams fans have long thought it was another double digit. We've carried around our Babel fishes and our towels, secure in the knowledge that we were members of the elite Club 42. But, if you were to ask my first-born SECOND child (we don't like the term "middle child" in this family), she would vehemently deny the validity of that claim. You see, for her, the answer is a resounding 23.

We always have these weird conversations lately where the girls, with the passing of natal anniversaries, will ask me; "So, when you were 21, you were already married, right?" Or; "When you were 25, you had Averie. Serious?" Recently, with her impending 23rd birthday looming, Caris wondered; "So Mommy, what was significant about your 23rd birthday?" I closed my eyes and went back in time and I couldn't help but smile. Ah yes, when I was 23, it was a magical time. I was new to this marriage thing. Though we'd been at it a mere two years, we were living what we thought was pure bliss. We had two incomes, we played, we traveled, oh the places we saw! "That good, huh?" Caris said as she saw the smile on my face. Yeah, it was good. "But you were married." Uh huh. "I can't even imagine that."

And THAT is one of the things that makes Caris Caris. She's an independent thinker, not at all afraid to speak her mind, hold her own steadfast opinion, and dig in. I remember thinking that the name we had given her was full of what I thought was feminine whimsy. Caris, meaning "grace". Michelle, because my father always said that he wanted that for my middle name. To my ears, it trickled off the tongue and made me think of soft, frilly, light, gossamer things. But surprisingly, as much as she adores the color pink, she's more a take the world by the horns kind of girl. She has never been content to sit still, always in a state of perpetual motion. Even if her feet are planted, the wheels in her head are always moving, plans are always been made. Plans, which we know, always come to fruition, because that is the way Caris is wired. Do or do not. There is no try. And NEVER is her happiness dependent upon her attachment to a guy. If she wants to go, she goes. Whether or not someone wants to go with her.

As beautiful as she is talented, we are always very surprised at her humility. I have caused her numerous occassions of embarrassment because I BEG her to sing a certain song I love, or ask her to bring out project workboards that she's created. Or, I simply brag about her within her range of hearing. She cringes. I've learned its just best to allow her to speak about the things she loves or interests her in casual conversation. This is when she shines, and that really, is all the stage she needs.

She's always said her favorite number is 23, and now that magical number has arrived with her name all over it. I hear that trapeze school is on the docket. I guess if you've jumped out of an airplane, swinging from a trapeze should be cake. Another trait of her character that makes me hold my breath...she's fearless. Unless there's a spider in the shower. In that case, she still needs a champion.

So dear Caris, happy birthday beautiful girl. I hope 23 lives up to the magic that you've given it. I have a feeling it will do what it can to please you. But I also know you're not gonna sit back and wait for that to happen. You will MAKE it happen. Because that is what you do. The world is your oyster and I know it's full of pearls just for you.

Love you always. Your awestruck mom. :)