today my daughter is seventeen

The year the Girlchild was born, the Berlin wall came down, students rushed tanks in Tiananmen Square, and the U.S. invaded Panama. The world was in high gear.

In 1994 she was five and full of proverbial beans. It was hard to keep her out of trees. It was next to impossible to keep up with her questions. She composed impromtu operas which were staged at a run through the house, in which she played all parts in underpants and a floating silk cape, curls flying around her as she leaped up on the couch to launch into an aria.

So now she’s seventeen. Once in a while we still see flashes of that wild and crazy five year old, but of course we are not always privy to the details. Sometimes snatches of conversation come to me. Two chickens, one with a neckband marked “1” and the other marked “3” set free in the school halls. Is this a fantasy, a plan, a fond memory? If I bide my time she will probably tell me. In a talkative mood she flings herself across our bed to rant about the death penalty, the woeful lack of junk food in the school vending machines, the latest social lunch time drama, Iraq.

Sometimes we are terrified, but we are always mindful of our good fortune. There’s still a whole lot of shaking going on.

10 Replies to “today my daughter is seventeen”

  1. Happy Birthday Girlchild :) Wow, 17, what a fun age. What a great picture, such a cutie. I remember watching TODAY, broadcast the berlin wall coming down. I begged my parents to buy me a piece of the wall, but no luck. I was a history buff even then!

  2. Happy Birthday, Elisabeth! Wishing you health, happiness, and wise choice-making (sorry, I may only be 25, but I teach high school). My sympathies, as a fellow curly-headed girl!

    May your birthday be fun;
    Good wishes? A ton!
    You’re seventeen years!
    (I know–still no beers…)
    But have fun anyway,
    Because today is your day! :)

  3. Beautiful, even back then. That is a wonderful picture. You can really see the energy coming at you. Happy Birthday Girlchild. With many, many more to come. megan-denver

  4. beautiful picture, it captures the essence of a fun, funny, wilful, intelligent, beautiful girl who seems to have grown up to be all that and more…thanks for the glimpse into your world

  5. Happy (belated) birthday girlchild!

    I can say with great certainty (and much research) that May 5th is the best birthdate ever. A whole country celebrates you. So from one 5th to another, here’s hoping you had a happy, happy and got everything you desired.

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