Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Dear Daughter!

It's my daughter's birthday today.

She's reached a milestone which makes me feel old. But it's okay because it probably makes her feel old, too, and so we can be old together.

She is my only daughter and my oldest child, and believe me when I say she set the bar very high for all those boys that followed.

If I'd only ever had one kid, I wouldn't have understood what all those other parents were saying when they'd wring their hands and moan about what their children were up to now.

Mine, of course, was perfect. Well, she was. Pretty much. Still is.

Of course when we sent her off to school, her teachers thought otherwise. They agreed she was smart, hard-working, determined, hard-working, smart, determined -- oh, and going to do things her own way.

They also said, "Why doesn't she turn her work in on time?"

That's the other thing she can be --- about things that matter --- a bit of a perfectionist. When the teacher said, "Draw Bill and Jill at the duck pond," the other kids, my boys included, would draw two stick figures, a circle and some vague rendition of a bird. . . and move on.

Not my daughter.

Everyone else was finished and ready to go to lunch and she was still sitting at her desk, totally focused -- drawing argyle socks on Jill.

She hadn't even decided what kind of duck was going to be at the pond yet. That would mean getting out the bird identification book, reading about the migratory patterns of ducks, figuring out where the pond was and the time of year the ducks were migrating and which ones were likely to be at the particular latitude and longitude at that particular time of year.

And no, it didn't matter that she was in first grade when she did this.

It was pretty typical.

She was a joiner and a volunteer, and she rode horses every Saturday at a friend's farm about 10 miles from here. Luckily for me, she got a ride to the horses. But ferrying her to and from all the things she had joined or volunteered for kept me busier than all of her brothers combined.

It's fun to watch now as she's still doing the same thing, but she has to get herself -- and her own daughter -- wherever they're volunteering or joining now.

She was a Girl Scout and could sell you cookies mute and with her eyes closed. She could have sold you the Mississippi River and all its bridges just by smiling at you. It turns out her daughter can do the same thing -- 100 times over.

Now she's a Girl Scout troop leader and, trust me, the Girl Scouts in her troop are the luckiest kids in Texas. They're going camping this weekend. Lucky kids.

I don't get to see her nearly as often as I'd like as there's about 1000 miles between us. The one blessing of her daughter getting mono last fall was that I got to go be with them for three weeks while granddaughter recovered.

So I'm grateful every day for inexpensive phone rates, for memories that always make me smile, for Mom camp every summer which I wouldn't miss for the world because she and I have sooo much fun (her daughter loves summer sports camp, but she asked last summer if she could come to Mom Camp too when she got 'old enough.').

Mostly I'm grateful she's my daughter.

Happy birthday, kid. I love you!

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Blogger Caroline Storer said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

09 September, 2009  
Blogger Caroline Storer said...

Ahhh Anne - what a lovely blog - and what lovely photo's. Happy birthday to your lovely daughter. You must be so proud! Take care. Caroline x I deleted the first blog - I spelt your name wrong - how embarrassing.

09 September, 2009  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Thank you, Caroline, from me and from my daughter, too, for the birthday wishes. She's a great person, is a terrific daugher, and a dear friend -- all rolled into one. And you can spell my name any way you like! Thanks for stopping by.

09 September, 2009  
Blogger Lacey Devlin said...

Happy Birthday to your gorgeous daughter Anne!

09 September, 2009  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

Your post made me cry. If you ask me, you're both very lucky. (And am I the only one to notice that she's very much her mother's daughter??)

09 September, 2009  
Blogger Kate Hardy said...

Happy birthday to your daughter, Anne.

Lovely post, and you put a lump in my throat. Doesn't matter how many physical miles are between you, because love can bridge that distance.

10 September, 2009  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Lacey, Thanks very much!

Barbara, Yes, I think we both know we're lucky. And yes, again, people do say she's her mother's daughter. You're not the first!

Kate, you're right. Love bridges the distance. But I'm still glad to get to spend time in the same place with her at least a couple of times a year.

10 September, 2009  
Blogger Liz Fielding said...

Happy birthday to your special girl, Anne. And well done you!

10 September, 2009  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Thanks, Liz! I can't take much -- if any -- credit. She's just a very special person, has been from the start.

10 September, 2009  

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