happy birthday to my girlie-girl

My daughter is thirteen today.

Ten years ago I was writing in this space about the start of kidhood for her. Now we're moving on to teendom and edging ever closer to adulthood. I'm not terribly sentimental about my kids as babies or toddlers. I enjoy them as they are too much. But today I'm remembering I wrote a post a long time ago about finding glitter in her hair when I gave her a bath.

The sparkle of that glitter is still with her.

She's a remarkable person. She draws as well as a professional cartoonist, endlessly; she is articulate; she love stories, science class, animals, her big brother, her friends, My Little Pony, cosplay and cons. She has remarkable balance and physical ability. She has occasional bumps, of course, primarily her vision, which doesn't keep her from studying art but does make reading a chore she's never really warmed up to.

When she was little she loved the trees, even prickly pines, so much that she hugged them good night. She could walk like a ballerina on the tips of her toes. She could Houdini out of any diaper or outfit  you put her in, whine her way in or out of any situation, and by age two we left the side of the crib down so she could climb in and out. We still call her monkey.

She still climbs trees and she snowboards really well. She's taught herself to ice skate and she could ski, too, if she'd pick it back up.

She talked at ten months, drew in perspective before she was three. She loves stories. She went through a lying phase (who doesn't) in which she nearly convinced her very experienced first grade teacher that she spent the summer in Africa riding giraffes and taking care of tigers.

Now she goes to art school and takes two hours of visual art a day. Most of her drawings have a story to go with them. She still loves tigers. She would be a tiger if it were allowed. She's going to wear her tiger suit to her birthday party today.

She had crazy curly hobbit hair when she was little.

Now her hair is long and stick-straight and sometimes blue at the ends.

She has never known me as anything but a writer. I started writing again before she turned one.  I wrote my second (trunked) novel at the kitchen table with her playing on the floor nearby before she could walk.

My latest book, EMISSARY, is dedicated to her, and she even drew a picture of a dragon that my generous editors allowed me to include in its pages.

When she was three, we were all down and out with flu but her. We crawled (not kidding) out onto the balcony to watch her open her presents below, then crawled back to bed. She played intently, probably wondering where the hell we all were on this, her first birthday that she realized was a day just for her.

This morning we all got up, with her bff who slept over, to watch her open her presents. Then she disappeared back into her room with her bff to make art. One of her new shirts already has paint on it. /headdesk/

I won't post a current picture of her because even though she is beautiful, she requests privacy in my public life.

But I still couldn't help saying, right out loud, Happy birthday, my darling girl.

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