Yesterday was my daughter Alley’s birthday. I’ve read a lot of
sappy Facebook postings by mothers, on their kids’ birthdays, about
how their lives changed when their little angels came into the world.
I’m happy for them. My daughter screamed for seven months. It changed
my life.
When I turned sixteen, all I felt was inadequate, because there
are so many songs about it. My lips have never been like strawberry
wine, not at sixteen, not now. At sixteen I thought this meant there
was something wrong with me. I thought my lips were supposed to be
like strawberry wine. To this day I kind of chew at them, taste
testing. Not yet. I thought I had some sort of developmental delay.
Sometimes when I’ve had a fever they taste kind of tinny. I guess if
you hung one of those cardboard, scented, car perfume things just
below your nose, at age fifteen and a half, your lips would have a
strawberry wine smell by the time you were sixteen, but they might be
flammable as well. I don’t know the science behind this. Strawberry
wine makes you nauseated after a while doesn’t it?
When you turn eighteen your legal status changes, but the changes
that happen when you are sixteen are mostly old wives tales. You may
come on like a queen, but I defy anyone to figure out how you become
peaches and cream. Unless that’s what you become queen of. peaches and
cream. I think it’d have to be mostly a figure head position. My
neighbor, who came by for cupcakes and “Happy Birthday” last night,
had the nerve to say that she thought Alley “needed” to start taking
driving lessons. I balked.
“Why does she NEED that?” I asked.
“So she can help out with the driving.”
Oh, please. I have only one car, and I’m driving it. So it’s not
like we’re gonna join forces, fan out, and get the family business
taken care of. She could occasionally do the dishes, if she wanted to
help with something. I’m not exactly sure how my daughter driving,
while I sit at home sweating bullets with knots in my stomach, exactly
advances my cause. Everybody says that when they hear she’s turning
sixteen, though. “Guess you’ll be driving soon, huh?” Ya, that’s what
we need, more drivers. She has been capable of getting pregnant for a
while now. Why don’t people blurt that out to her without asking me
first, too.”Guess you’ll be making babies soon, huh?” That could be a
big help to mom. Look at what a shot in the arm it was for Sarah
For now, we just had some cupcakes. We reminisced about how hard
it was to get her to sleep when she was a baby, and how she used to
bite the cats ears, so I’d tell her she had to go sit on the stairs,
so she learned to bite the cats ears, and go sit on the stairs all by
herself. And she read me sentences from her Spanish homework, and
asked if I knew what they meant, which mostly, I did not.

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