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.
When my day feels heavy and I need an emotional lift, I will click on your blog. Your words are like chocolate to my soul. Happy birthday to beautiful L.
And hearing from you is like blackberry pie to mine! (I had to change Lulu’s name in your comment to keep her from being Google-able.) Remember my eighteenth birthday? Carnation in my jammies in the morning and Es-car-go-go’s in the IMC at lunch! One of my favorite days ever. I only hope hers is as special. xo, my sweet friend.
On your eighteenth birthday I remember how you hid under the covers and took the sponge rollers out of your hair before heading to Carnations. That was one of my favorite days as well. We were decked out in our “dancing people” skirts and our heart shaped glasses. I hope that Lulu’s day will bring back special memories for her too. xxoo
I love reading these kinds of lists. Now that I think about it they’re my favorite thing to write too. I feel like cheering for her. Best wishes from a stranger that appreciates your mom, L.!
I call these lists “love lists”, Rachel. Aren’t they great? They can be such a wonderful gift, and they don’t cost a cent.
Thanks for the wishes for my girl!
What lovely words for what sounds like a lovely person. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.
What a special dedication to your beautiful daughter. If she is just 1/4 of the person your are, then she is absolutely fabulous! May she have a very memorable 18th birthday.
Aw, thanks, Chris. So neat to see you show up here!
Oh my, this made me teary eyed. What a wonderful person she is! Happy Birthday.
She is wonderful. Thank you, KC!
Oh my goodness, Patricia. This is just beautiful. She sounds amazing. And you are too, to write such lovely things about her. Thank you for sharing this. I feel honoured to have read it.
Thank you for the kind words, Kirsten! (I think she’s amazing, for sure!)
As I think of my grown daughter, I have a list of such memories and feel a swelling of love. I miss my daughter so much now that she is not living at home. Your post brought tears to my eyes. Happy Birthday, L and Happy Labor Day, Patricia.
Amy, I can’t even think about her not living at home–but I know that time is coming up fast. I’m glad this post made you think of your daughter. Here’s to cherishing our wonderful girls!
Only you and I could have guessed/predicted that we would share this birthday! Your words bring L. to me in ways I do not know her, but know her because of your love and devotion as her mother! A tribute to all good things in her world. Lucky girl, lucky mom. JR
We will always have this Halloween birthday girl connection, Janet, and I love that. From the stories I hear of L and O, I think our girls share more in common than a birthday. There’s a lot of heart in these three. Hugs and kisses to you all.
Oh! well, sniff, sniff, that is just about the most beautiful gift you can give your child. Can’t wait to celebrate her tomorrow.
Love you both,
We are both so blessed to have you and O. in our lives. xo!
OMG, she is beautiful! I knew it even before I saw her photo. 🙂
Love that girl. She will forever be the sweet 10 yr old who made me that blanket for my baby. I realize this means my baby is nearly eight, but I cannot handle that, either.
To our girls! xoxo
I still have the photo up in my kitchen of L. showing R. her pointe shoes. Makes me get a little choked up every time I look at it.
I hope to have such a strong relationship with my daughter in 13 years!
I hope you do too!
I’ll quickly comment and then go to my desk to start a love list for Annie! A few of your listings inspired/remind me of my darling and a list like this will me so much to her right now. Last night she said “Oh, yay! I love it when we ‘re both so happy at the same time Mom!” She’ll love to hear what makes me happy/amazed/delighted/proud.
Thanks for sharing what’s beautiful,
There is nothing like getting a love list. I hope yours made Annie feel all warm inside.
This is the best: “Oh, yay! I love it when we ‘re both so happy at the same time Mom!”
Thanks for sharing beautiful things right back!
This is beautiful and so is your daughter. Happy Birthday to her.
Thank you, Kerry!
It’s been too long since I’ve checked in on your blog and now I am happy I didn’t miss this gem. Lulu has always been quite a gal. I admire her intellect, her ability to make that supreme coconut cake, and her adventurous spirit to swim across a lake that looks black-as-night, at night. Welcome her to adulthood for me with a big belated hug. My advice for her now that she is older and testing the waters to do new things is: “You’ve got to have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C.
I’m glad you admired her for swimming across that lake, Kristin; I wanted to throttle her! I will try to promote the plan A, plan B, plan C thing. We will see if she lets me get past mentioning plan A! 😉