Another Kind of Sixteen: Celebrating My Daughter

My firstborn turned sixteen today, and it turned out nothing like I might have pictured from my John Hughes movie upbringing featuring boys, parties, and some misunderstood teen just wanting to escape from her family.

It turned out nothing like anything you’re imagining at all.

And this is good. This is so good that, if you’re a parent, you’ll rejoice with me. If you’re worried about our nation’s youth, you’ll rejoice with me.

(My wise neighbor told me that when my children became teenagers, it didn’t have to follow the script you’ve read: rebellious, angry, boy-crazy girl who hates everything and everyone. It could be different. She was right! She was right!)

On the eve of her Sweet Sixteen, Sarah was exactly herself, requesting exactly the things she loves:

She chose a family movie, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle since it was 5$ movie night down the road. I laughed so hard. We ate popcorn and teased each other.

For the birthday breakfast, she made her specialty, Eggs Florentine.

For her birthday dinner, all she wanted in the world was Ina Garten’s Turkey Meatloaf. It’s cooking right now. And spinach and goat cheese salad.

Later, she wants to watch The Empire Strikes Back because she’s taking full responsibility for my Star Wars education, but we’ll probably watch her little sister’s show, The Goldbergs.

She lounged in her room with her dad as he custom-built a cork board / dry erase white board combination on her wall so she can “work out all her math problems” and hang her polaroid photos.

She went to test for her driver’s permit while her sister and I made celebration cookies. We’ll have cheesecake with cherry topping for dessert. In a week or so, she’ll have friends over for a sleepover party where I’m sure she’ll play Monopoly and Risk.

That’s it. That’s another kind of sixteen.

I’m so happy for her.


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