Thirteen years ago, in a hospital room filled with doctors and nurses and family, my oldest daughter made her first appearance.
Eight years ago, I held her hand as we walked into Kindergarten registration.
Five years ago, I was chasing this pretty little girl around Tennessee.
Two years ago, I was watching her settle into life here on the farm.
And today? Today she is a teenager. My Emerson is 13.
I could tell you that she's smart and beautiful and kind, because all of that is true, but she's more than that.
She loves her brothers and sister...
And she loves to have fun with them.
She loves cats...
And I think she might actually be turning into a cat.
She will scoop up a squirming baby duck,
let the wind whip through her hair on the boat,
give herself an impromptu mud mask at the pond,
and she'll make her own fun as often as she can.
She moved up to Middle School this year, and as you can see, she was very excited for the new adventure!
Also, unbeknownst to her, I might have changed a few things on her class electives list without her knowing. She was sure surprised to see that "somehow" she had been assigned to Theater Class her first semester. She begged and pleaded for me to have her schedule changed, but I told her she'd just have to tough it out. And you know what? Theater turned out to be her very favorite class.
To make matters worse, when I told her she had to choose an after school activity or I was making her run cross-country, she went kicking and nearly screaming to audition for Mezzo Voce, an honors choir, and had to sing a solo in front of a whole room full of students. (I am SO mean.) Of course she was chosen as a member. She had a great time traveling to college campuses to sing with other choirs and when they competed at Festival, their group came away with the coveted "1" ranking. Miss Wilson, who taught Theater and led Mezzo Voce, was a great role model for both groups.
And, I am happy to report, those angelic voices and fancy dresses and shirts and ties didn't prevent all kinds of fun from happening!
Then there is the matter of braces. Dun, dun, dunnnnnn. Although she needed them, she was dreading the day she'd actually get them. And, as I sat in the Orthodontist's office, waiting for it all to be over, I got a text message. From Emerson. While she was getting her braces on. And well, she also managed to find her sense of humor in that situation, and I knew it would all be okay. What else could I do but laugh?
This year for her birthday, she again chose to have a sleepover. And again she chose truffles and ice cream over cake or cupcakes. But there were subtle changes among the girls. Little things like just a wave from the parents during drop off instead of hugs and kisses, and instead of just socks and t-shirts scattered around the bedroom there were bras and mascara mixed in.
Middle school. Braces. Bras. It's happening.
I still see her as my little girl with the freckles and giggles and carefree spirit.
But I also see the young woman she is becoming.
Emerson has a way about her. She can find the humor in any situation. I think, if she can hold on to that as she forges onward into these next few years of her life, she's going to have the upper hand on this thing we call Life.
Happy birthday, Emmer Schlemmer. Mom loves you!