You were born hungry and cried on cue, 6pm every night without fail. Your voice would carry through the house demanding that everyone stop whatever they were doing to hold you. You didn't need to do that because we were all in love the minute we laid eyes on you. Beautiful little girl.
The day I knew you could read we were driving from Hesperia to San Diego. I heard a tiny voice in the backseat repeating words every few miles. It took about three "Holiday Inns" before I realized you were reading signs and billboards out loud. You always surprise me.
When you had to have your tonsils and adenoids taken out the entire family came to the hospital. I got up to walk you in the operating room, so small, with your hospital gown and pigtails on, waving to everyone like you were in a parade, and you said to me that you wanted the nurses to take you in. You've always been fearless.
You never needed a song to sleep, a thumb, a binky, you were so self-assured from the start. I wanted to be just like you when I grew up. And yet you feel so deeply, throw caution to the wind so often without a thought and only because you want so passionately. I watch you carefully because you are so headstrong and trusting and wonderfully embracing of everyone you meet. I can't believe you're sixteen and on your way out of my arms and into this world's. I think of all the things I'd like to protect you from and how trusting you are, so forgiving of everything and I sometimes am afraid you'll break your own heart. Then I remember the little girl who dislocated her elbow and bit her lip as the doctor snapped it into place, waiting until we got to the parking lot to let tears stream down her face and cry my name and I know that no matter what happens on the outside, you'll need your mommy. I'm so proud of you, Hope and I am amazed at the young woman you've become. Sweet can't even begin to describe you.
Big girl shoes, ready for the world.