Today is my younger daughter, Madeleine's, 15th birthday. What I didn't realize 2 1/2 years ago when Katie turned 15, is that this is really the last year of childhood. What I learned once Katie turned 16 is that 16 is a real turning point in a child's life. The ability to drive (and access to a car) really does propel a person into a much more independent life. Now that I know this, I plan on really enjoying this last year of Madeleine's "childhood".
I haven't had many opportunities to brag about Madeleine here on Pam's Perspective. What better day than her birthday to do just that. Madeleine has always been a very independent, spit-fire of a girl. When she was little we called her Terry Pterodactyl for her high pitched screams and El Destructo for her whirlwind ways. She was the kid you couldn't take your eyes off for one. single. second. But she was (and still is) a happy, sunny, charming and funny girl. She never fails to bring a smile to my face and cheerfulness into a room.
As she's grown, we've learned that within this high energy, happy exterior resides a keen intelligence. Madeleine is smart as a whip and her capacity to understand the world and apply her knowledge to new situations never ceases to amazes Geoff and me. She works very hard at her studies, but somehow manages to make it look easy. And her intelligence goes far beyond book smarts. Madeleine is one of the most insightful and perceptive people I have ever met. And I don't just mean for a 15 year old. I mean for anyone of any age. Her observations about people and situations are beyond wise. She is truly an old soul.
Now I don't want you to think that she's all Einstein and Freud. Not at all. Madeleine has a wide and varied circle of friends (all of whom are wonderful). She has been able to avoid the whole High School friendship drama scene and is able to be friends with many different kids from many different groups. When she's with her friends she is funny and silly and giddy and happy. She's got the whole package: beauty (did I mention she's lovely), brains, charm and she's fun. And I plan on enjoying every moment of the next year. Because I know that when she turns 16, her life will become much more focused outside the home. And I, for one, am going to miss her.
Happy Birthday, Madeleine! You bring light and joy to my life every single day and I love you more than you will ever know.