A few weeks ago, my oldest child met a big milestone in her life.
She turned 16 years old.
I tend to not be a sentimental person when it comes to my children’s growth. I appreciate each stage of development as it comes, and I have always worked very hard to relish each season they bring to my life. The first day of Kindergarten, their first bike ride, the first time we talked about grown-up issues… none of these things had me wishing time would slow down or that I could have 5 more minutes of them “just like this” at whatever age.
I’ll admit, this probably makes me a “weird” parent. But hey, normal, I’ve found, is something I don’t do too well. Believe me, I’ve tried for most of my life.
I love my children, desperately so. And my favorite part of being a parent is watching them assert their individuality and become amazing individuals, complete with their own set of ideals, ethics, and opinions on their own lives. Do borrow a phrase from my grandmother; “I don’t live in my children’s hip pocket.”
So, when April 10th rolled around and we were faced with the celebration of 16 years with our daughter on this earth, I couldn’t help but feel so proud I’ve had all this time with her… to watch her grow into the person she’s become. I can say with absolute certainty that she and I have a very close mother-daughter relationship. I am forever grateful for these years we share and the fact they are not fraught with fighting, tears, or estrogen-enraged battles. Maybe we just got lucky, maybe it’s the culmination of 16 years of being there and raising her… I don’t know. I just know she’s amazing, and I enjoy the company of my daughter.
A few things about Rebekah that makes her so special:
Rebekah is stunning. Truly there are beautiful people in this world. And then there are stunning people who make you look twice. Rebekah was lucky enough to get the bulk of her father’s Greek genes and it shows in her looks. Add to that her inner beauty and you definitely have a child who has been stared at since her birth.
Rebekah is sarcastic. Wow, the dry humor that banters back and forth between myself, her brother, and Rebekah is truly astounding. I like to think she got this from her Irish roots (my side!). Rebekah is so quick and witty it’s almost frightening, but always delightful.
Rebekah is artistic. She loves to paint and sketch and create with her hands. Her room has always been a haven for her to do whatever artistic endeavor she feels driven to explore. This has created years’ worth of beautiful artwork that adorns her walls. Once she has run out of room to hang her work, she started making her work on her furniture. Is it odd that instead of anger, I feel pride at the personal creations she’s made on her furniture? She is truly gifted.
Rebekah is not shy. I LOVE this! She will talk to anyone about (almost) anything. Bek is comfortable with adults, children, people her own age and makes an effort to make others feel comfortable around her. She has a kind way about her that makes people enjoy conversing with her.
Rebekah is cocky. Oh yes she is! Not sure where that comes from… But cockiness and stubbornness are two traits I love to see in my children. It means they have a mind of their own and will push themselves to get what they want and create lives they are proud to lead. Rebekah has demonstrated that her self esteem and stubborn streak will take her anywhere she wants to go. And it’s so nice to see a 16 year old girl who believes she IS worth more than what a boy would want from her, what a teacher tells her, or what her peers try to dictate to her. Rebekah walks to the beat of her own drum, and is damn proud to do so.
To celebrate her 16th birthday, Rebekah threw a most amazing Rocky Horror Picture Show party at the studio. Complete with the props to throw at the screen during the movie, 1970’s themed food (can you say… FONDUE!) and everyone dressed in costume, it was a night to remember. A couple weeks later we did her Sweet 16 shoot in the Rocky Horror theme. Rebekah’s character was Columbia and boy did we have a blast with the costume, make-up, and shoot!
I was hesitant to show these images as part of Bek’s 16th birthday post. Then I remembered who I was writing about and realized nothing could be more perfect.
This is the child I’ve raised. This is one of two of my finest works in my life. This is her unique personality, her love of embracing the odd, the quirky, and the often misunderstood and rejected.
This is my child who will stand to defend her beliefs, stay loyal to her inner circle, and, when asked if double plastic bags would be fine for her groceries will say; “For goodness sakes, it’s Earth Day! What kind of person are you to even ask such a thing!”
I love her more than life itself. And I seriously, truly, honestly could not be more proud of this woman.