Saturday, December 22, 2012

Teen Angel {Abby's Birthday Retrospective}

When Abby was an every-other-weekend kid, we would read American Girl books out loud to her before she fell asleep.  Some nights we got through two or three chapters, some barely one.  But it was what we did every other Friday and Saturday night.  It was a good thing that there was a Half-Priced Books in our neighborhood because we read a lot of American Girl books.  So it was no surprise that her deepest wish was for an American Girl doll.

 Uriah and I had been on the fence about it for months before her 8th birthday, knowing that we would be celebrating her birthday over the Christmas holiday, we didn't want to combine Christmas and Birthday presents.  We couldn't decide if it was going to be a very fun toy if she only gets to play with it two weekends a month, adding on top of that the explanation that this particular doll would be an Kansas City toy only.  We finally decided that, regardless of how much she would or wouldn't play with the doll, we were going to get her one.  We had decided on the Kirsten but as it turns out they were in the process of retiring the doll and when I tried to order it that fall, I was told they wouldn't have any more until the following spring.  So back to the drawing board we went.  I didn't want to get her a look-alike doll, I wanted it to be an original American Girl, and while Felicity was one of our favorite series, we finally decided to go with Kit.

 There is nothing as awesome as watching a kid open up a gift that they have truly wished for in the deepest part of their heart.  Abby was so surprised and so excited. She nearly fell over she was so happy and that doll did not leave her side – awake or asleep –  for the remainder of the weekend - or for months afterward.

Abby turned 9 shortly after she came to live with us full-time.  It had been a tough summer and fall, so we wanted to keep her birthday relatively low-key.  Abby, however, doesn't like to do anything low-key.  She wanted to celebrate her last year as a single digit in a big way, so we compromised and invited the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins over for cake and ice cream.  I don’t remember what we got her.  I remember only that she wanted a jell-o cake with pink sprinkles and our little apartment was loud and bursting at the seams.  And that everyone made the effort to be there, cementing, at least a little bit more, that Kansas City was her home. 

For Abby’s tenth birthday, we did it up right, after all  two digits deserves a big celebration.  Compounding the fact that Uriah and I had just gotten married and we’d just told our families we were expecting a baby, Abby’s tenth year was going to be chock full of big changes.  We got dressed up and took her out to eat at whatever restaurant she wanted   She chose the Cheesecake Factory, and although she pouted for a minute because we made her order off the kid’s menu, she couldn't even finish all of her dinner.  But trust me when I tell you, she sure saved room for cheesecake!

When Abby turned 11, Uriah and I decided to do something we never do – we pulled her out of school for an afternoon with just the two of us.  Considering that a new baby had entered our lives and turned everything upside down, it’s not surprising that Abby was feeling neglected and overshadowed by her new baby brother.  We took Finn to daycare and proceeded to make the afternoon as much about just Abby as we could.  I got tickets to a kid’s production of Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Santa Smells at Union Station in Kansas City and then we took her out to lunch.  And this time we let her order off of the adult menu!  The best part was her face when she came into the office and saw us waiting for her – I'm pretty sure she thought she was in trouble!  I think she was equally surprised that we pulled her out of school (I forgot to pack a change of clothes for her, so she spent the afternoon in her school uniform) and that we didn't have Finn with us.

Last year was probably the crappiest birthday we've ever celebrated with Abby – only because she was sick.  Actually, first Uriah got sick so we had to postpone her birthday party with her girlfriends, which turned out to be a good thing, because Abby got sick that weekend, too.  She’s wearing her jammies in all of the pictures opening her gifts (because we had to celebrate a little!) and she mostly looks pale and faint  She spent most of the day sleeping, actually.  She did manage to eat part of a cupcake (she insisted) but I don’t think she really enjoyed it.  We were able to have her girlfriends over the following weekend, which was, as luck would have it, the weekend that Finn had his tooth pulled, so the girls were on their best behavior and had to keep their late-night giggling and chatter to a whisper!

And so here we are at 13.  The teenage years.  She’s not the impressionable little 7 year old girl who loves Polly Pockets and could spend hours playing Barbies.  Now she could spend hours singing Taylor Swift songs and painting her nails and reading (actually, the reading part isn't any different than when I first met her!).  She’s got opinions and an attitude large enough to fill a circus tent.  As we’re only hours into these ominous teenage years (and to be perfectly honest, she’s been at school all day) I guess only time will tell what this year will bring for us.

Happy (belated) Birthday, Abby.
Don’t forget to do your homework.  And clean your room.
Most of all, though, let’s make this a good, good year.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post. It was so enjoyable to see her growing up. What a smile that girl has! It lights up the whole place when she uses it.