my baby turned 17 today. this is n, displaying a special gift (le petit prince) at her birthday dinner. shortly after this, we started in on a sampler italiano and the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks. n enjoyed her favorite olive garden meal, the 'tour of italy' -- a colossal plate of lasagna, chicken parmiagana, and fettuccine alfredo. by the time everyone's order arrived, we had at least a week's worth of food on the table!
during the meal, n shared about her most memorable adventures as a 16 year old -- going on her first cruise, taking solo trips to l.a. and hawaii, suffering through the flu with mom and dad during the big winter snow-in, and much more. she talked about how much she had enjoyed being 16, despite all of the hardships of the past year, as well as some of what she is looking forward to as this new chapter unfolds. one of the top priorities: discovering where she'll be going to university.
i know i'm not quite objective about these things, having believed that both of my daughters were beautiful genius children from the beginning, but as i listened to her sharing, it was hard not to be impressed by her maturity and good humor. she's a playful thing, and enjoys being flamboyant, knowing that it tweaks mom and dad just a little. then in the next breath, she's sharing about her first experiences of having someone look up to her and of the need to be a good role model to the little ones in her life, a responsibility she embraces with an earnest sincerity.
m's aunt s likes to say that "you can never be too beautiful, too smart, or too rich, and two out of three ain't bad!" when i consider n's future, i'm pretty sure she'll be all three -- at least in the ways that really matter.