Today my daughter Julia turned 14 years old.
I find that incredibly hard to believe.
It seemed like just yesterday she was a little girl who loved vanilla ice cream cones and men riding motorcycles.
(Funny story: when Julia was three years old, we were having lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant when four Hell’s Angels walked in and sat at a table near us. She was absolutely transfixed. She spent the rest of the lunch saying, “I like those mans! I like those mans!” 🙂 ).
This led to my brother-in-law warning us that one day she might come home with a tattooed, leather-clad boyfriend named Thor.
We shall see.
Julia has always had a sweet spirit and a kind heart.
Do you notice how her hands are folded in the above photo? She did that constantly during her first year and I have no idea why but it was so darned cute.
The morning we had her dedicated at church, she allowed Pastor John to hold her and as he turned her so that she was facing the congregation, she folded her hands in a very ladylike fashion and coolly surveyed the people, totally unfazed.
Pastor John was so charmed that it led him to say, “Let this be a lesson to all the parents out there.” 🙂
Julia has always had a perpetually sunny personality.
In fact, her entire room is decorated in a cheery smiley face motif. (Along with the Abbey Road Beatles poster, Audrey Hepburn from ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s, a calendar entitled ‘Nuns Having Fun’ and a Ted Williams tin touting the soft drink Moxie).
Her tastes are a tad eclectic.
What is missing is a poster of Clay Aiken of ‘American Idol’ fame.
When Julia was five years old, she developed a love for Clay Aiken and insisted that she was going to grow up and marry him. (Note the huge departure from the aforementioned Hell’s Angel type).
Doug and I decided to buy tickets for the AI summer tour that year and her excitement level was off that charts the night of the concert. We had pretty good seats and the highlight of her night was seeing Clay perform in person.
Afterward, she asked if she could please, please, please have a poster of Clay for her room.
We stood in a very long line to purchase the poster and she happily clutched it all the way home.
However, the instant the poster was unrolled and ready to be hung, the honeymoon was over.
She began to cry while pointing at the photo of her beloved and wailing, “It’s so ugly! There are things all over his face! Take it away!!!”
Those “things” were freckles.
Clearly, she is not a fan.
Nor is she a fan of the French braid.
Julia has always been a tomboy and she barely tolerated any kind of fussing with her hair.
However, when my friend Ida Mae was visiting many years ago, she asked Julia if she could braid her hair. Julia agreed and seemed quite happy to comply. That is, until she saw her reflection.
This was her reaction:
Since an early age, Julia has loved to create. She draws, writes, paints, plays the flute, and last year, she was in her first play, Little Women.
Like her grandfather, she is also a big history buff. She watched every single debate during the 2008 election season and knows the names of her governor and her representatives. I had no clue about any of those things when I was her age.
I think she may have politics in her future. A few years ago, the kids had an opportunity to participate in a program called “Exchange City.” It is an excellent program that teaches kids what is involved in running a city. They have 3 1/2 months of classroom instruction, followed by a two-day simulation at an Exchange City location. They had to interview or campaign for their jobs and Julia was determined to become the judge of the city. She campaigned by creating a campaign poster and writing a speech about what she would do as judge and sent it out electronically to kids from all over the state who would be doing the simulation with her.
She lost…but when the next semester came around, she decided to go for it again. We admired and encouraged her tenacity. This time, she won and that was one of the proudest days of her life. This is one of my favorite photos:
This week during a field trip sponsored by her school, she is going to have the opportunity to see and hear a Supreme Court case being argued and she can hardly wait.
I would not at all be surprised if one day she actually becomes a judge.
I have already signed on to be her campaign manager when it’s time for her to run for office.
Julia loves animals, watching old black and white movies with her daddy, and all kinds of music.
She insists that her first car is going to be a used black Hummer, of all things. Here she is posing beside one back in May:
She decided to follow her brother and attend the local high school after years of being home-schooled and she is thriving. She plays the flute in the band and is on the volleyball team.
I am so blessed to be the mother of this amazing young lady.
I can hardly wait to see the plans God has for her.
I love you, sweet girl! 🙂