Okay, yeah, I know I promised to tell all about my extended stay at Club Med. But now that I've been out of the hospital for a month, I've grown weary of talking about it. I was too tired and then too busy to write. And now, it just annoys the crap out of me that it happened at all. I'm sure I'll finish that post sometime soon. It WAS a pretty significant event in my life. I think I'm just trying to process it all. I mean, I nearly died. TWICE. Yeesh.
What has had me preoccupied the past couple of weeks is the very act of counting my blessings. I have the most amazing children on the planet. I look at them and wonder how I got THREE great kids. It's like hitting the jackpot on the slots. They are truly miraculous. Those boys....oh, they are such boys. They do everything with such a ferocity and intensity. Loving, playing, beating the holy hell out of each other. Even the intensity of their apathy is impressive -- if that makes any sense at all.
But my sweet girl. My SugarPlum. She is what has me baffled and filled with joy and pride and anxiety and dread. She is 14. FOURTEEN. And she is just the best teenager in the history of ever. She is such a little bundle of contradictions. She has a wisdom and a maturity beyond her years. She carries herself with such confidence and self-assuredness and she really doesn't care what people think about her. When I was fourteen ALL I cared about was what people thought of me. I remember being so horrified that my mother wouldn't buy me Calvin Klein jeans. FIFTY DOLLAR JEANS! In 1984!! I won't even spend $50 on jeans now. Heaven forbid something came from KMart or some other discount store. Oh, the horror. My poor mother. But all I cared about was what the popular girls were wearing. And I swore then that I would do everything in my power to make sure my kids had what was "in style." But my girl just really couldn't care less where the clothes come from or what the label says. As long as it's comfortable and it fits her style, she's happy. I have actually offered to take her shopping and she says "no, I have enough clothes and shoes, I'm good." WHUCK? I got her a Vera Bradley purse last summer (which she does love because it's got her school colors) and now she finally carries a purse. But recently, when I asked if she wanted to look at some purses, she looked at me like I was crazy & said "I have a purse."
She has the coolest group of friends who are like her. They are all great girls, good girls, who are sure of themselves and don't feel the need to put anyone down to make themselves feel good. They are funny and smart and high-achievers like SP. They each have a wicked sense of humor, which I love. They don't feel the need to act out in any major way or use coarse language (like one of their moms who has a potty mouth that makes sailors blush at times....ahem). In fact, at any given time, I can open SugarPlum's email and if one of the girls has a reaction to anything they simply reply "STRONG WORDS!" instead of cursing. When they see the acronym WTF, while they do know what it actually stands for, they say "Wow! That's Fantastic!" (Try it. It's even better than saying What the F^*k!), and when they see BS, they choose to interpret it as "Bacon Strips" or "Bible Study."
Which leads to one of my favorite things about my sweet girl. She is so mature that she actually actively tries to maintain her innocence about the world. And I don't mean in a sexual way (although that too), but just in everything about the world. It's like she knows that there are situations and scenarios out there that once revealed will change her forever, and she tries to avoid them. Sort of an "ignorance is bliss" attitude, only in a healthy way. There are certain TV shows that I don't let her watch. And she's okay with that. She told me that she appreciates that I look out for her that way. This has led to me loosening the reins a bit and previewing some episodes of House and Big Bang Theory for instance that can sometimes have quite a bit of sex and adult situations, but also sometimes are very good TV and okay for her to watch. We talk a lot about what is on the episodes she doesn't get to watch and she is good with not seeing them. I know that many of her peers get to watch whatever they want on TV, but she is happy to work within the boundaries I've set.
She is also VERY athletic. Something she certainly didn't get from me. I mean, I did ballet and modern dance until I was a junior in college and I loved it. And I played soccer for a few years as a kid, but I did not love it. This girl LOVES sports. This year, she played volleyball, basketball and did track & field. All the while she played on her competitive soccer team. And she is GOOD. She is a goalkeeper - you have to have a lot of self-esteem and a pretty thick skin to play goal keeper. (And an even thicker skin to be the keeper's mom!) She is planning on limiting herself to soccer next year in high school. (HIGH SCHOOL!!! Oh. Em. GEE.)
She is also a big choir geek like her mom. She LOVES choir. She was in the honor choir and the show choir this year. She has been blessed the past three years with an amazing choir teacher who has instilled in her a love of music and vocal skills and just the artistry of it all. So, she is planning to pursue that next year as well.
In addition to all of that, she is ridiculously smart and is an officer in the Nat'l Jr Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. PLUS she was asked by one of her coaches to start and lead, along with her best friend, a girls' Bible study on Wednesday mornings. I can go in her room at night, after she should have turned out the light and she is reading. Her Bible. For real. I walk in unannounced and there she is, deep in the Word.
When I was in the hospital all that time and after I got home, she looked after me and her brothers. She is the best big sister in the history of ever. She loves those boys without reservation. Oh, yes, they make her insane. But she still loves on them and makes up games for them and will remember to tell me all the funny, crazy things they say & do while I am gone. I was never, ever that good of a big sister. When I have been out of energy and laying in bed (because this whole recovery thing has been much more taxing than I ever imagined), she will make supper for the boys and has even on occasion put them to bed. And that doesn't count all the hundreds of nights she's spent babysitting.
Why am I telling you all of this? I have no idea. I've just been overcome with how remarkable this sweet, amazing girl is. Through all of the turmoil of the past couple of years, she has kept her composure better than I. And she has been an amazing example to all of us. Is she going to therapy? Oh, yes. Nobody, especially someone 14, can deal with all she has dealt with and not need an outlet. But she's fine with that too, and acknowledges how much it's been helping her. And she talks to me. That is so amazing to me. She talks to me and she likes me. She tells me so, unsolicited. And her friends do too. Because they are awesome. Also, she does do the moody, eye-rolling, heavy sigh, slamming of the door thing. But when I step back, I am so grateful because it just reassures me that she is a REAL teenager and not some teen-bot.
So, I'm sorry for gushing. It's not even her birthday. But I am so thankful to God for this perfect child. There will never be enough words to thank Him for my Angel Girl. I wouldn't want to navigate this world without her. She's fantastic. For real. Please don't let me screw her up!