She’s fifteen today.
Holy sweet mother of Burt Reynolds, I feel old. My little girl—all those years such a wee, giggly tot—has shot up like a gull durn beanstalk in Zoo Doo. And, might I say, a hard-working, smart, awesome beanstalk at that.
How about you; do you remember turning fifteen? How about just being fifteen? I’m asking because…I kind of don’t. Sure, I’ve got some fairly sturdy memories of the larger milestones of that era—thirteen, sixteen—but my recollections of Year XV are overcast at best.
Based on the day’s teenage mindset, I can deduce what I may have asked for. Perhaps a pair of these:
I doubt I received HASH jeans though, since it cost around thirty 1977 dollars for the privilege of hiding your shoes and flaunting your loin rimple. Chances are I picked up a cheaper imitation at the Clothes Fair down by the railroad tracks.
I probably requested slightly smaller ticket items, like this:
Or maybe this:
Or perhaps a subscription to this:
I can tell you with near certainty that for dinner, I went here:
After which, my family and I returned home, sat back on the couch and flipped on this:
Yep, from what I’ve observed, teenage birthdays are quite a bit different now. By the time my daughter arrives at school this morning, a large swath of freshmen will already be digitally clued in. Upon her entrance, she’ll be engulfed in a million gentle hugs—each with one hand lightly patting the birthday girl’s back and the other clinging to its smartphone like a mountain goat to a mossy boulder.
In 1977, most of my friends didn’t even know I’d had a birthday until they noticed my annual Milk Dud-sized forehead zit from eating chocolate cake for breakfast all week.
I’m not bitter. Digital attention is shallow. Wait, forget I said that.
I suppose when the rubber hits the road, teenagers haven’t changed all that much. Allow me to illustrate.
Here’s a recent photo of my daughter:
Here I am, also at age 15:
And of course, James:
See what I mean? A youngster’s a youngster’s a dork.
Fifteen can be a tough age, a time of awakening and with it, one of elevated uncertainty and angst. Thankfully, our kid seems to be navigating the waters well; in fact, she’s doing great.
And just between us, or as the kids say, "TBH," I love the girl so much, sometimes I feel like I could just cave in. But knowing how she’s loathed being the subject of my long-winded posts over the years, I’ve decided to bestow upon her the greatest gift a father can grant on this, my baby’s fifteenth birthday:
I’ll stop talking.