Happy Birthday, Baby!

I am stealing this tradition from a friend of mine over at http://thatswhyiloveyou-amie.blogspot.com. She’s also the magnificent running momma of my daughter’s best friend, Emerson. In lieu of Claire’s birthday, I thought I’d update the blog. Plus I have loads of grading to do and well, you can imagine how that’s going.


This year Claire turned 11. El-ev-en! My baby. The lady who made me a momma. And she had a pool party with her closest friends, boys included. It was the easiest party I’ve ever planned, and one of the most fun to be a part of.


But this year hasn’t been the most fun. Mom has had to work on her patience as Claire is beginning to grow into a young woman. Often she reminds me of Daria from the late 90’s animation by the same name. She really has this retro look down lately too. Fashion is something she is inspired by, and her choices to cut a shirt, or to wear combat boots with a dress are really fun, and brave. I try not to comment and just be proud of her independent decisions, but I also want to protect her still. It’s a fine balancing act.


Like Daria, Claire is an introvert who loves reading. Her favorite reads this year included a few of my favorites too: Wonder (for the 4th time), The Giver, Bridge to Terabithia, and the Young Traveler’s Journal. She said the society in The Giver was stupid and with stupid rules and that we should allow kids to vote at age 11.


You can see she’s gotten super political. Free Amir was a campaign that she got behind after reading his story. She made signs for our windows and they hung until he was freed.There has been a letter to Donald Trump this year, and President Obama. She threatened to bash Governor Snyder when she was interviewed for her Support Flint Blueberry Project on ABC 12, but we tried to convey that it was supposed to be a positive message about her fundraising for the children of Flint and not a political pulpit, although deep down part of me wishes she would’ve disobeyed on that one. She also is a Bernie supporter: wearing his pins, stickers, and shirts at least once a week to quite a conservative school district. Needless to say, we are proud of her, and her activism. She raised over $2500 for the Child Health and Development Fund started by Dr. Mona. But mostly we’re proud of figuring out her voice and beginning to use it…even if mom and dad disagree with some of her ideas, comments, or views.


She is an amazing older sibling who is beginning to show the wear and tear that one does when puberty arrives. Her patience is waning but she still allows Leo to watch Saved by the Bell cuddled up next to her, and she still will sit with Pearl and have tea. The three of them also love bouncing on their new trampoline together, and swimming. There is always swimming.


She swam with Carman’s varsity boys all winter, and one freshman thought she was on the team. Now he wasn’t the smartest, but she is pretty quick. She even challenged him to a race and was only a few strokes behind him. But he was disqualified on his start, so we took it as a legit win. The boys were helpful in teaching her to perfect her flip turns, and also how to get a better start. They tried working with her butterfly, but that stroke is just really hard. She begins practice with DAC Monday and is looking forward to competing again this summer.


This summer. She wants to be up north and at the farm (Emerson’s house) as much as possible. I am sad that my baby is leaving my side, but I know she will return one day. This momma must be supportive and positive, and not take it personal. Growing up is hard-especially at 11. If we, as parents, could stress anything it’s that we want her to continue exploring who she is and what she stands for, and always use her voice. It’s taken a few years for her to find it, and with the help of a pretty phenomenal Mrs. Trombly and continued encouragement from mom and dad, she is starting to speak loudly and clearly. Let’s just hope others pay attention or they might feel the wrath of Daria (sighs).


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