A year ago today I was on a business trip to Germany and really not happy about it. That's because October 23 is our daughter Erin's birthday and for the first time in any of my kids' lives I wasn't going to be there to help celebrate their big day. As I wrote last year, I had to put food on the table but I didn't have to be happy about it. And since I've written the last few years about how much she's grown up and how she's not my little girl any more I figured this year I'd just highlight where we are at this point in time.
First, let's talk about friends. Erin has about 5,000 of them and all of them text her every 15 seconds. Amazingly, her 1 1/4 year old phone still works although I don't think it can take much more punishment. And honestly the engineers of that thing should win some sort of prize. I figure each of the keys has to have been pressed over 50,000 times at this point and the fact that not one has gone dead is an engineering achievement that rivals the Great Pyramids.
This morning two of those friends, Jesse and Sarah, showed up at our house about 15 minutes before the school bus was due to arrive. They were carrying happy birthday signs (Erin's holding one in the picture to the left) and generally made her feel like a million bucks. They even coordinated with Erin's brother Michael to make sure that she rode the bus and didn't hitch a ride with us and miss all the fun.
Next, let's talk about boys. Actually in our house it seems like we never stop talking about boys. Boys, boys, boys. I guess it's just a sign that she's a healthy and happy 15 year old that Erin finds any boy with a pulse to be "cute." Recently she's decided to classify one of those boys as a boyfriend and I know this because she changed her profile on Facebook to "In a relationship." Note to Erin's grandparents: that's how things are done these days. We don't tell each other anything, we just write about it online for 1,000,000 other people to see and then wait for our family members to hear it through the grapevine. I asked Erin about it and she blushed and said she wasn't sure Celeste and I would approve so that's why she didn't tell us. I guess she forgot that I can read and I also have a Facebook account and would eventually find out anyway.
Ah, well. I told her that she was right that we wouldn't approve, but that it had nothing to do with the boy himself. She could be dating the crown prince of England and I wouldn't approve since in my eyes all boys are equally vile and despicable. Heck I was a boy at one time (Celeste says I still am) and I've told Erin repeatedly that there's not a teenage boy alive that she can trust. I'm at that point in life where I wish a man could take a stick to any boy that looked cross-eyed at his daughter and he would be met with understanding nods of approval. But, since we live in a civilized society I'll just have to satisfy myself with treating the little weasels like dog poop on the bottom of my shoe.
Obviously I'm treading ground that's been well traveled by a gazillion fathers before me, and honestly I have no room to complain. The girl brings home straight A's, excels at everything she tries, and only drives us crazy four times a day. She also happens to be beautiful, have the world's greatest smile, a laugh that could stop traffic and an uncanny ability to attract people to her like moths to a flame.
Of course I can't end before I tell you that one of our greatest joys is that she's not outgrown her propensity for Erin-isms. Since she was a child Erin's had the uncanny ability to mutilate words in an often hysterical fashion. When she was in elementary school she saw a Mitsubishi and called it "mister bushy." A couple of years ago we were passing a fast food restaurant that had an "Open Late" sign and she blurted out, "Look they have open lattes." Last year when we asked what some of the activities were scheduled on her class trip to the coast she said they were going to go "wadding." When we gave her a confused look she said, "You know, when you walk in the water but don't swim." The best part about the Erin-isms is the fact that she just laughs them off. It's an amazing part of her personality that she just accepts them, and honestly it's one of the most endearing attributes of a truly incredible young lady.
Happy birthday honey. Tell Will I'm watching.