Happy 15th Birthday, Olivia!
15! 15! 15!
To take a look at you, you look every bit your fifteen years. You hold your head high, you often have a mischievous look in your eye, and yes your phone pings incessantly with Snapchat and texts. If that doesn’t describe a 15-year-old, I don’t know what does.
But. And this is a big but (No, not the Sir Mix-a-Lot song), you’re a good kid. No. Scratch that. You’re a great kid. I’ve written before about your prowess in the kitchen and we’ve taken full advantage of those skills, highly encouraging you to whip up dinners for the entire family and baking birthday cakes for your sisters or anniversary cakes for me and Dad. Thanks for that, by the way.
We’ve all started eating not only pretty phenomenal meals and desserts, but also a lot more vegetarian dinners. In October of 2017, you decided to go a month eating vegetarian. Truth be told, I didn’t think you’d stick with it come November first. But here we are six months later, and you’re still eating meat free meals. The only time I remember you mentioning you missed meat was when we had Chinese takeout and the smell of the orange chicken made sticking with your convictions a little difficult. You did it though. I think you said something to the effect of it would be pretty lame to give up on your new vegetarian lifestyle for mediocre (my word, not yours) orange chicken.
I’m pretty sure Dad and your sisters would like a few more meals with meat, but I’m good with it. They’ve also found pretty creative ways to add meat into the vegetarian dishes. It does make family dinners a little more challenging, but you’re content to make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or big bowl of pasta if we opt for a meaty dinner.
The PB&J and pasta meals help fuel your athletic endeavours, which currently revolves around swimming for your high school swim team. You’ve worked hard to improve all your strokes, but most notably your breast stroke. That has always been your strongest stroke, but you’ve made it your mission this year to really take it to another level. This is where I get to brag about you. You’ve become a breast stroke beast, literally clawing your way to a couple of first place JV wins by your fingertips. It just goes to show that hard work does pay off.
That’s one of the things I love and admire about you. Once you get an idea in your head, be it becoming a vegetarian or making a name for yourself on your swim team, you fully commit. Now don’t get me wrong, in other areas, you’re Miss Wishy Washy and are far from committed, but for the things that you’re really passionate about, you give it your all.
I know your last year of middle school wasn’t the easiest, so I worried how you’d acclimate to high school. Clearly, there was no need. So far, you have slayed your Freshman year! You put yourself out there and made friends with a new group of kids without batting an eye. That’s far from a simple feat, but like so many things you do, you just dive right in. (Yes, I purposely put in the swimming analogy).
Anyone who knows you, knows that you like to talk a mile a minute when you get excited about something. Recently, there’s been plenty of excitement and fast talking about your new friends, whom you I assume I know, but don’t.
A typical conversation will go something like this:
Olivia: “Alexis said the funniest thing today. (Olivia tells a very long involved story about said funny exchange)”
Me: “Who is Alexis?”
Olivia: “You don’t know her.”
Me: long sigh and exasperated look.
With your after school practices and your sisters’ soccer practices and Hebrew School, our dinners start much later than they used to, but more nights than not, all five of us sit around the dinner table and go through our days. Usually, there’s plenty of jockeying to get a word in edgewise, so maybe that’s why you talk so fast.
Whatever the reason, please don’t stop talking. Keep telling me your funny friend stories, whether I know them or not.
I know that many parents complain about the many moods of their teenage kids, who sullenly slam their doors and answer questions with little more than grunts. That’s not you and that’s not me. Truth be told, I love your run on sentences that go on and on and on. It’s really better than the alternative. Much better. I mean, sure you have your moody moments, where I don’t want to be near you, and vice versa, but I’m thankful those days are few and far between.
I love you kiddo!