It's hard to put into words how incredibly lucky I feel to be a part of this young lady's life. She's such an easy person to love. Mommy bias? Oh sure, there's probably some of that mixed in with my feelings, but I by no means think that's all there is to it.
Annie has a beautiful heart, accepts people as they are, and despises injustice and intolerance wherever they pop up. She's intelligent and hard-working. Well, at least most of the time. She's willing to help when called upon, at home and elsewhere. She's volunteered at the library for 3 1/2 years, and she now helps out with the kids' aikido class each Saturday morning. While she loves books and clothes and music, she's always understood that we don't have a lot of money...she's never once complained that all her clothes come from thrift stores (or the occasional gift from someone). Of course, she can rock a thrift store like no one I've ever met. And the library is her forever friend for books and music. She is always kind to others (well, there is the occasional exception when it comes to her brother Gray). She has a gift for writing, seems to have a natural knack for the flute (though she seldom puts it to use any more), and has a beautiful voice. Her razor sharp wit makes me smile on a daily basis.
Thing is, life isn't always easy for her. I can only imagine how hard it must be sometimes to be the odd duck who is homeschooled. While she always seemed to manage with aplomb taking college classes from such a young age (she took her first at age 11), I'm sure she had moments of panic and fear and loneliness. And while life as a lesbian teen is easier today than in years past, let's face it, it's by no means without its very real challenges. Add anxiety and OCD to the mix, and yeah, it's easy to see that this beautiful young woman does not have life handed to her on a silver platter. And yet, every. single. day. she makes me proud to know her, grateful to be a part of her life, and humbled to be her mom.
Annie, I love you more than you'll ever know. And while Dad and I teased you that "sweet 16" meant you had to be sweet for the whole year, what I really hope is that age 16 is full of sweetness for you.