Today is kid #3’s 13th birthday. And yes, I can still remember the day she was born, unexpectedly quickly, which led to an accidental natural birth. Frankly, I was glad just to get to the hospital.
She was a little princess. She wore dresses and leggings in a rainbow of pinks and pastels for the first 10 years of her life. She named everything from stuffed animals to Star Wars action figures to the minivan “Cindy.” She was our last baby and she was spoiled. Everything I’ve ever read about the youngest child was true about #3. I made all those “youngest child” mistakes and I don’t regret any of them. She was my last baby and I knew it.
She’s morphed in the past couple of years from a princess to a perky goth. Now she wears dark clothes mostly, and she’s graduated to jeans. She’s internalized the societal expectations for girls about body image, despite my assurances that health and strength are far more important than stick-thinness. I still fight the good fight and she’s got a good head on her shoulders, so there’s hope. She’s had to deal with a lot in the past 18 months and has developed a maturity and grace that are astonishing. She’s also got a smart mouth and surly attitude that she flings about with deadly accuracy. She’s venturing into her own territory and discovering who she is beyond the porch light of our family.
She’s unstoppable when interested, spending hours a day practicing piano music from her favorite video games. She picks out the melodies by ear, or by watching You Tube videos. She can completely ignore things she’s bored by, like practicing “When The Saints Go Marching In” assigned by her piano teacher or long division.
There are still some glimmers of who she was in who she is becoming. Halloween remains her favorite holiday. Pokemon are still beloved. Reading is still cool. And she’s still the baby of our family.