This is fourteen

It’s not quite adult.  Not quite.

But it’s closer than it’s ever been before and you know it’s right around the corner.  She still trusts me for everything, she still thinks that my opinion is the one that counts and I’m still her first call.  I hope it stays that way – I hope that her world broadens and brightens and that she still comes back to me.

Jessica Mary is my first child, and in some ways, she’s different from the other two.  Of course, they’re all different – there are ways in which Sam is different and ways in which Julie is different, and while I love all three of them more than I can express, I have a different and intimate relationship with each one.

Jessie is the baby that turned me into Mama.  She fundamentally changed everything about the way I looked at life the way I approached decisions, the way I thought about the future and the way I looked at the past.  She’s my baby girl, my right arm, and one of the best and brightest parts of my life.  At fourteen, she’s beautiful and smart, and one of the funniest people I know.  She’s infuriating and dramatic, and there’s nobody who can make me madder faster than my daughter.

We’re entering into a new stage in our lives, with Lilli graduating high school this year.  Now, we’re going to start subtracting kids, instead of adding them.  Our Shabbat dinner table will get a little smaller, and I feel the clock ticking on the rest of them now.  In a way that I didn’t before this year.  Fourteen years is only four years away from eighteen.

She’s still my baby.  I know now that it doesn’t change.  She’s always going to be my baby.  She’s always going to fit in my arms, perfectly, and she’s always going to make me laugh harder than anyone, and frustrate me and fight me.  She’s never going to do anything the easy way, she’s going to question everything.  She’s got goals and dreams and can waste an entire weekend on instagram and pinterest.

Happy birthday, my baby.  Happy birthday, my big tall girl who’s so much smarter and prettier than she realizes.  Happy birthday to one of the best parts of my life.

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