This is Katherine--my fourteen year-old who just sort of oozes coolness without even trying. Somehow her sweet, tiny hand that barely used to fit around my finger has outgrown mine, but I drink up the joy of knowing she has not outgrown the need to feel my hand in hers. I like to call her my anti-teenager. She is, for the most part, thoughtful and witty and remarkably kind. I try to raise my children to live as though we are all part of an amazing team, and if that is so, Katherine is the quarterback among my children. When she was eight, she used to play hide-and-seek with her newfound neighborhood friends. When they made her three year-old brother "it," she hid right beside him while he was counting and whispered Evan, I'm right here. She still brings her younger brothers and sister along with her everywhere, and she still reminds them that she is right here--beside them--no matter what. They spend their days truly in awe of her. She always seems to dazzle them with whatever play she has in mind for the day's game.
At fourteen, she is so much more than I ever was at her age. Strong, independent, and completely comfortable in her own skin, she shines with the light of a true original--a fresh-faced, converse-clad, guitar-playing original. When she was first born, I imagined that she would be a small version of me--only, hopefully, without all of the mistakes. But who could have ever imagined the richness and dimension she would add? She has helped me to learn to let go of perfection. She makes me feel beautiful, and wise, and really happy to be growing older. She introduced me to Maroon 5 and Twilight and comfy t-shirts and JabbaWockeeZ. Most importantly--she inspires me to serve a little more selflessly, to live bigger, and to embrace change courageously. I think when I grow up, I would like to be more like her.