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Starting off on the Right Foot (and in the Right Shoes)

May 25, 2011

Mouse turned 13 yesterday.

Starting at some point last week, she made it very clear that she was SUPER EXCITED about her birthday.

And so starting at some point last week, I started to stress out.

There would be no party ON her birthday – that’s not happening until June (thanks to crew and soccer schedules).  We had no clue what she wanted for gifts, she wouldn’t tell us what she wanted for her birthday dinner — we were adrift. But she was SO EXCITED, and bouncing around the house about it, that I knew I had to make a Good Day.

Pressure!

Fortunately, at some point last week, I remembered a request she had for some low top Converses.  Simple, but an “extra” (because I just bought her a pair of running shoes, flip flops, and sandals) that seemed perfect for the birthday.  Made even more perfect by the fact that she had sent me a link – months ago – with the exact ones she wanted.  They were $50, which seemed pricey for Converses, but whatever.  But even more perfect is the fact that between my office and the T stop I get on every day … a Converse store.  I thought it was iffy that they’d have what she wanted.  Their selection is always limited, and these shoes were a couple of months away from new.

But!  When I told the helper-boy what I wanted, his eyes lit up!  “We have those, and they are on sale!”  And they had her size.  Woo hoo!  So instead of $50, they were $30.

So I did the most logical thing.  Threw in a t-shirt — that was on sale! — to make up the difference.

I believe it was Friday that I bought the shoes, and then on Sunday night, at the dinner table, she raised the fact that she would really love “to have the privilege” of owning low-top converses for the summer.  I somehow managed to squelch my smile and act all indignant because I just bought her 3 pairs of shoes.  “I know, I know!  That’s why I chose those words, so I didn’t say I *need* them, I just would be very pleased to have the privilege.”

WD found her a very sweet summer weight hoodie (because no teen in this town can be seen in public without wearing a hoodie …), and I put on my Lemon hat and bought her a cute wallet and a pretty, bright umbrella.

And then she came up with her birthday dinner … Burritos!  At her favorite taqueria!

Which happens to be dirt-cheap, super fast, and easy as pie.

Does she want a cake?

No!  Let’s go to J.P. Licks!  And get ice cream cones!  Hooray!

Again with the ease.

Then, the weather gods decided, “This Mouse-Child is a sweet girl.  We like her.  She is pretty, and she smiles a lot.  Let’s give her sun!”

And so on Mouse’s birthday, the Boston area (all of New England?) climbed its way out of a 2 week gloom of chill and rain and drizzle and gray.  And it was 80.  And sunny.  Happy birthday, punkin.

Her friends brought her a cake to school, and “caked her in the face” during lunch (which was, oddly, a highlight of the day).  “I think everyone in the whole grade said happy birthday to me!” And some of them brought her cards.

It was also her first birthday on Facebook.  And we all know what that means.  “I had, like, 60 notifications!!!!”

So many smiles from this girl.

I spent the day  “working from home.”  Quotes used to signify the fact that I spent my day (as evidenced in the previous post) cataloging and scanning old photos of my little girl.  This one, in particular, choked me up:

That little 4 or 5 year old face.  how can that be the same girl of today?

I mean, right?

Our night out was great.  Everyone was happy, the girls got along.  It was bliss.  She was happy.  The burritos were yummy (and super cheap!) The ice cream place had my favorite ice cream, that I can never find anywhere (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter).

And she was thrilled with all her gifts, and very excited and surprised about the Converses.  She looks awesome in her hoodie.  She already put all 4 of her dollars in her wallet.

And as she went to sleep, I commented on the fact that she was a lot more excited about this birthday than last year’s.  “Is it because it your first as a teenager?”  “No, Mom, I think I figured it out.  I wasn’t so excited about my birthday last year, and don’t you remember I wasn’t so excited about Solstice* this year, either?”  “Not really, but okay ….” “It’s because I had boyfriends**.”

Perfect life lesson with which to enter the teen years.  “I am happier when I do not have a boyfriend.”  Yes, my dear.  Yes.

And as I was saying goodnight to Lemon, I had to say to her “today was the best you’ve ever behaved on your sister’s birthday.”  She got a typical-Lemon wise-ass grin on her face and said, “Well, I restrained myself several times.”  Which is progress.  Restraint is progress.

(They actually got along fantastically all evening.  I was almost – again – brought to tears by it.  And while Lemon may try to say she was just showing restraint in honor of her sister’s birthday, it’s not the entire truth.  They’ve been getting along better for the past couple of months.  And it makes me very, very happy.)

*  We enjoy celebrating the Solstice, and putting less emphasis on Christmas.  Historically, we exchange hand-made gifts on Solstice, and attempt to focus on the season and nature.  More recently, busy schedules have kept us from making anything by hand, and so …. we just exchange gifts.  So, um, yeah.  (As Lemon would say.)

** Boyfriend, in these situations, is defined as either (a) boy who you text occasionally and over the course of 3 months, meet at a park one time, and meet after school for a slice with 6 other friends one time, or (b) a boy who asked you out in school, and in a flurry of embarrassment and surprise, you agree to “go out,” but then the next day, inform him that now that you had a chance to think about it, you really think you’re better off friends.  Apparently, that overnight mind-changing happened on December 21st, this year.

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