Saturday, February 7

Madeleine Teenager

Madeleine turns 13.

We could not be more proud of this confident, intelligent young woman who has grown up before our very eyes. From the minute she was born, an intense one hour delivery, I knew we had something special: Madeleine was all in from her first loud cry "I'm here, take notice!"

Madeleine's fearlessness evident from the early days when we worried about her trust in strangers, who she approached with a scratchy "hola" or "hello, mister." Her tree-climbing often found me exasperated at the school entrance trying to coach her down from 20 feet. And then there were the battles to get her to wear a dress to a wedding or some party - no way. Not even a lifetime of no-television could budge her.

Madeleine for a long while was a tom-boy happily digging holes in the backyard with her (mainly) boy friends, looking for worms or burying treasures. She was fascinated by bugs which she examined under the microscope. Her love for stuffed animals ("buddies) transferred to fish, hamsters, turtles and, of course, Rusty who she battled for for two years to bring home. How could I say no?

Since secondary school, Madeleine has blossomed into a committed student with top marks in all subjects and rave reviews from her teachers who appreciate her enthusiasm and fast-hand for the question or answer. We are delighted with her friends who are often the class eccentrics ("the cool of the uncool") interested in drama and theatre and sport. She has thrown herself into running and has demonstrated talent on the track and cross-country piste. She attends drama class Saturday mornings. She dreams of California and, like me, is a dreamer.

Some years ago I recall peaking out a window to observe a ring of teenagers. Madeleine, age 8: "I don't wanna be a teenager Dad!" And now she is. And it is glorious.