I don’t know if you knew this, but today is a very special holiday. Just in case we all suddenly fell and hit our heads and forgot, my darling daughter made sure to note it on the family calendar pretty much the moment we flipped over to April.
That’s right—Flerp Derp hopes you are all observing International Flerp Day today. (Translation: It’s her birthday. Please to remit candy immediately.)
So, I hope you’re sitting down, because the scrappy little girl who was newly six years old when this blog started just turned 17. SEVENTEEN. I’m not really sure how that happened, quite frankly, because the periods of time between when she was either actively or passively trying to remove herself from this mortal coil OR I was strongly considering removing her myself often seem very small and rare, indeed.
This young lady beginning her 18th rotation around the sun is a testament to second (and third and fourth and fifth and etc.) chances and grace beyond human understanding. I mean, I know she doesn’t see it that way, but I do. Every day. Every time she smiles. Every time her brows knit together while she’s thinking hard. Every time she tells me she’s feeling “PRETTY FLERPY, MOM!”
First thing this morning (well, okay, more like at 10:00 this morning when Monkey asked for the fourth time if we could wake her up NOW?) we piled into her room and serenaded her with a spectacularly off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday” while the dogs walked all over her and wondered why everyone was being so loud.
Then we came downstairs and sat through the careful, non-ripping paper removal on the pile of gifts. This year she refused to offer even a clue as to anything she might be wanting, shrugging her shoulders at every inquiry and saying, “There isn’t really anything I need.” So we guessed, and went with a small sea of items designed to make her smile, and most of them did, although the clear winner was The Greatest Shoes Ever:
(What’s that? You don’t have any rainbow wiener dog Converse? I’m sorry. Not everyone can be this flerpy and fabulous, y’know.)
There was much merriment and later there will be decadent chocolate torte with salted caramel glaze and hopefully in the final balance, it will be a good day.
Listen up, little girl, because here’s the 17 things you need to know at 17 (for when you sneak over to read this):
1) Yeah, I called you a little girl. You’re always going to be MY little girl. Sorry, not sorry.
2) At the same time, you’re nearly an adult, and one I’m proud to know, at that.
3) DON’T PANIC. It’s not like you hit 18 and that’s it, you’re done. There’s always time to grow some more, I promise.
4) It’s okay that you’re still figuring stuff out.
5) It’s okay to make mistakes. (Good, even.)
6) You will never regret being kind, even if it gets thrown in your face later.
7) When someone turns on you, chances are excellent it has everything to do with their personal demons and almost nothing to do with you. Think about your part in it, but don’t take it all on when it’s not really yours.
8) Any time you do your best, we’re proud of you, and you should be proud of you, too.
9) Any time you don’t do your best, you end up really mad. And you think you’re mad at everyone else, but… well, I think you spend a lot of time mad at yourself.
10) Spend a little more time being kind to yourself and you will be amazed at what shifts in your life, kiddo.
11) Honesty is both easier and scarier than the alternative.
12) There is no truth that can diminish you.
13) Avoidance is a time-limited strategy that requires a tremendous amount of effort to maintain.
14) We can’t control everything. We make the best choices we can at the time, and then later on we make different choices if we need to. That’s called life.
15) When you relax into yourself and let people in, there is no one more fascinating, entertaining, and loving. You have no idea how awesome you are.
16) Someday you’ll look back and be amazed.
17) You are enough. Full stop. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
The past 17 years have been both interminably long and impossibly short. As I said last year: never easy, always worth it. I never knew such a complicated person could exist or that I could love her so much. Lucky, lucky me.
Happy Flerp Day to you, Chickadee! May your flerpiness continue to know no bounds. You are my very favorite Flerp.