She appreciates Wes Anderson films down to the art on the walls and the title fonts. She texted me when Pagoda died.
She says that her brothers are “my favorite people in the world.”
She has the biggest blue eyes. As a newborn, they overwhelmed her face: she looked a little like Yoda. Before long, though, the rest of her nearly caught up, and those big eyes made perfect sense. Big souls need big windows.
She has style. She manages to look fabulous in boots and leggings and sweaters with Santa Fe-style patterns that I would have cringed at even in the 80s.
When she is happy, she dances.
She never forgets to make cupcakes or cookies for her friends’ birthdays. She knows when you need a hug. She listens. And she makes a coconut cake that rivals only her chocolate cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream.
She is sentimental to a fault.
When she was younger, I wrote, “L. at eight is all long limbs and grace.” Ten years later she is only more so.
She hangs gold-framed pictures of birds in park trees at 4:00 a.m. with a friend, while wearing a mask like Holly Go-Lightly, because she dreamed it up so why not do it?
She speaks in ridiculous accents like her father.
Her favorite way to procrastinate (let me not mention Dance Moms) is to drive down to the bookstore, buy the newest dystopian novel and fly through it at the chocolate café down the street.
She’s a dreamer. Although her dreams have routinely failed her, although we’ve cried a lot of tears together, she keeps finding new ones and hefting her heart behind them, all hope and work and faith. She has me believing in her all the way.
She loves to sing. And so she sings.
She talked through all of her college application essays with me, as if my opinion really mattered. She wrote about what stirs her, even if it made those essays slightly unconventional. One of them made her high school counselor tear up. And that counselor reads a lot of essays.
She is, according to those in the know, the same Myers-Briggs type as Amelie and Jesus.
She’s covered her bedroom walls in song lyrics. She revels in words as much as her mama does.
She promises that she will respond to my texts when she gets to college. And I believe her.
On her second birthday, sixteen years ago today, as I pulled her car seat straps around her after a Halloween party, she wrapped her arms around my neck and said, unprompted, in her gravelly little voice, “I love you, Mama.” I melted and felt like it was my birthday. Today she officially becomes an adult, but sometimes in her smile I still see that little girl with the bobbed hair and the big blue eyes. And I feel her arms around my neck–because she wraps them there, still.