14 Dec

I’m not sure how it’s been so long since I last wrote anything here. Obviously I need to get some updates going. But today I want to highlight a big milestone that happened earlier this week: Michaela turned 13!

For her birthday, she wanted a trip to the mall with a handful of friends followed by a sleepover at our house. I borrowed a friend’s minivan so I could take the girls to the mall in one car. I gave them spending money and a time limit and then settled in for a chair massage and time reading my Kindle while they roamed the mall. A couple of hours later, we headed home for pizza, presents, and cake (chocolate with chocolate mouse inside and a rainbow on top). When Mike and I went to bed at 10:30, they were still giggling and having a blast. The girls told us later they went to bed around 1:30 (after unloading the dishwasher and sweeping and mopping our kitchen!). They were all up around 8:30, when Mike made purple pancakes at Michaela’s request, along with bacon and fruit and juice. They played a board game, took pictures with Michaela’s Polaroid, watched videos, and did teenage girl things. The last girl went home around 1:30. Michaela said it was exactly what she wanted.

For her actual birthday, we had my dad and brother, and Mike’s cousin Maggie and her boyfriend, over for dinner (and more presents and cake). Michaela’s menu choice? Rotisserie chicken and Caesar salad from Costco. Gotta love a no-cook menu!

Being a teenager, we officially gave Michaela a phone. No more tablet and Chromebook only for the little miss!

Michaela is a smart, strong, sweet person. She was selected by her school to be a peer ambassador and to give tours to potential new students. She’s senior patrol leader in her BSA troop and is thriving as a leader. She has straight As, including in honors math. And, most importantly, she has a big heart and an eye towards making the world a better place.

(In fact, her friends told me that she told them not to get her gifts. When they insisted, she told them they should buy geese and ducks from Heifer International, a charity that seeks “to end hunger and poverty in a sustainable way by supporting and investing alongside local farmers and their communities.”)

Michaela is also a teenager. She can be surly, she does not enjoy waking up early in the morning, and she’s quick with an eyeroll or exasperated sigh (I have no idea where she gets that!). But it’s fun to watch her grow and change, and I’m so excited to see where the world will take her.

Happy birthday to my favorite kid!

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