Miss G. Turns Seventeen

When the doctor in the ER told Mrs. G. that she didn't have the flu, she was relieved. When he told her she was pregnant, she was immobilized. Mr. and Mrs. G. had been married less than three months and, in that brief moment of immobilization, she realized that maybe she really did need to use the spermicide with the diaphragm every single time even though it was, what's the medical term, icky. Mr. G. would say this was just one more example of Mrs. G's less than sterling attention to detail. Mrs. G. would say that at least she stops and asks for directions. It all worked out in the end.

Because look at you. Look at your little hands. You were the best plan Mr. and Mrs. G. never made.
Yes, you spent a fair amount of time in this, now recalled and banned, walker. You could work this six-wheeled-wonder like a bat out of hell. When Mrs. G. opened the freezer and you heard the crinkle of a popsicle wrapper, you could maneuver this bastard across the entire length of our carpeted house in 3.7 seconds flat.

You were a natural born collector and a well-mannered benefactress. Some days you presented apples freshly fallen from the tree while other days, you offered up ABC gum and used cigarette butts. The point is you were a giver.

And you were lovely. And you were loved. And Mr. G. took to calling you blueberry pancake.

For the record, this is the first and last time you ever did yard work. Manual labor has never been your gig.

But fearlessness has always been your gig. You started riding horses at three. Mrs. G. had to cover her eyes during your first few lessons which focused on how to in off the horse. But for you? No problem.

You loved your instructor. We all loved her too, and we were very sad when she, without notice, ran off with a ranch hand never to be heard from again. It was even more of a bummer for her husband.

Look at your little brother admiring your bad Catwoman self. He loved you unconditionally and, Miss G, you often took advantage of his devotion and his ripped Batman abs with unfair trade negotiations like: I'll trade you six skittles for your entire bag of Halloween candy. For his sake, let's not rehash how he fell for it every single time. How he wandered aimlessly though the house counting his skittles, knowing deep in his heart that something was not quite right. How Mrs. G. had to sit you down and explain the concept of equity, pelt you with Jimmy Carter quotes and wrench his candy bag out of your hand.

This is you at age ten, the year you started becoming your own woman. This is the year we had the following conversation:

Mrs. G: Would you please do what I ask you to do? I am tired of nagging. I feel like I need a cattle prod.

Miss G: You don't need a cattle prod. You are a cattle prod.

Snap! Mrs. G. admired your moxie, but she thought to herself: oh dear mother of God, I have met my match. And she was scared.

But we both mellowed and you grew up...
to have the most spectacular taste in Secret Boyfriends.

If anything, you study too much. You have no idea how much Mrs. G. respects and admires your discipline and work ethic. She and Mr. G. have no idea where you got it. Seriously, they really don't.

Here are you and Mr. G. at Reed College. Last week, you mailed off your college applications. And while Mrs. G. is sad at the thought of you leaving home, she is equally excited and thrilled to watch you make take this next step out into the big wide world, because, Miss G, you are going to rock it.

The other day, while driving to Kinkos, you were excitedly describing a paper you are writing for one of your classes on the role of feminism. You told Mrs. G. that when your instructor asked how many young women in the class would describe themselves as feminists, only three women raised their hands. And you were one of them. And you were one of them. Has Mrs. G. mentioned how much she loves you?

No matter where you are or what you do, Mrs. G. has your back. There is no phone call you could make in the middle of the night that Mrs. G. and your dad can't handle. Without getting into any specifics, we are familiar with the process of posting bail. We will hold your hand, we will buck you up, we will send cash.

You are our favorite daughter. Happy Birthday. Happy Seventeen. Happy Travels.
Mrs. G.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (79)

To Miss G: I hope my daughter, my little larval feminist, grows up to be even half as bright, brave, and plucky as yourself. Happy, happy birthday. The whole world is at your feet. (Also, your mom means it about the midnight call. It doesn't seem possible, but there is nothing in the world that could even put a dent in her love for you. That's some powerful stuff, there.)

To Mrs. G: Great post and, moreover, NICE GLASSES. Love you.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

Happy Birthday to you, Miss G. You clearly have the required DNA, and judging from Mrs. G's description, you are definitely ready to rock the world! And goodness knows, the world needs more women who are proud to be just that! We'll be cheering you on - good luck in college!!


January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFamily Adventure

Happy, happy birthday, to both mother and daughter!

And many happy, healthy, joyful returns of the day!!

Sounds like it's no mere coincidence that you were born on Epiphany.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Beautiful post...Mother daughter love...something I am now learning a lot about. I so hope that I become a gracious loving mother as you are Mrs. G through the crazy teenage years!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSheila Ann

Unconditional love is such a sacred gift to feel and a joy to give. (We parents are lucky, aren't we?)
What a beautiful baby, little girl, woman...

Happy Birthday to your Sweet Seventeen - and bless you, proud Mama.

(P.S. Those walkers were fantastic - as long as common sense and parental supervision were part and parcel of the "ride.")

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

Happy Birthday Miss G! To have a mom who is willing to bail you out of jail is way cool! Wishing you a very happy year!
Great post Mrs. G! You make me laugh and cry at the same time.

Happy Birthday Miss G! Wow that was a great rap from Mum (mom) but it sounds like you definitely deserve it!

Mrs G I want to know HOW you know about posting bail...

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterM

What a fantastic birthday post!

My oldest daughter is ten and is truly becoming her own woman. The cattle prod comment hasn't actually been spoken in our house, but it wouldn't surprise me if it does at some point in the not too distant future. My hope is that my baby grows up to be as fabulous as Miss G, and that we come through it a stronger mother/daughter team.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Chili

Wow. Now THAT'S a love letter. Happy birthday, Miss G!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBadness Jones

Happy Birthday Miss G. You are a beautiful young lady - you WILL rock the world.

Mrs. G. I loved this post I laughed and cried. It sounds so much like my own story. The best plan never planned. I especially liked when you had to pelt her with Jimmy Carter quotes.

Military Man came to read it too and pointed out that there is a picture of me that looks very much like you in the first photo. I had the same glasses. Also the Rescue Ranger could take his banned walker four wheeling through the cow pasture.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary Alice

Happy Birthday, Miss G! Oh, this brought a tear to my eye even before my first cup of coffee...

(Or maybe I'm still a litle wrung out from the debate last night?)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLaura

This does not give me hope that my plot to keep my daughter from turning 16 will work.

Damn it.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterso NOT cool

How cool are you and your daughter! I'm guessing you have set a pretty good role model for her and she has turned out awesome. Happy Birthday to her.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKeetha

That is one hot-looking riding instructor...

Not to sound extremely stupid, do you get the old, obviously taken with a film camera, photographs on the computer?

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersuburbancorrespondent

Happy Seventeenth year of celebrating Mrs G and Miss G.

A beautiful post from mom to daughter.

Mr and Mrs G, we're on the same page, my adult kids (19 and 22)have a 24/7 phone call option also.

3.7 seconds ... I hope her time has improved over the years *wink*

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Happy Birthday Miss G, at Sweet Seventeen!! I love that you still LOVE to learn, you already reach out with both hands to the many excitements there are to discover... Mrs. G: As someone said earlier; you've written a stunning love letter to your daughter, complete with a pictorial (or is is pictoral?!) biography...that's a GREAT ending photo of the leap off the bed and into the future (oh, the books!!)

Look out College World!!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Ann

So it begins! As the mother of a young, college-graduated, fully employed professional woman with and apartment, 2 cats, and her own life far, far away from her mommy, may I offer some advice? Keep your car keys and a box of Kleenex handy. And realize that seeing her every few weeks will change to every few months. And this is perfectly natural and healthy. For her, not you. You will feel like your heart has been torn out of your chest and stomped on. (I believe in full disclosure, and I wish someone had warned me.)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

Oh, and many happy returns of the day, Miss G! And congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. G for a job very well done!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPatti

Oh...what I would give to have had a relationship like that with MY mom....calling from jail...yeah right!!
Happy Birthday, Miss G...or should we say Ms. G?
You are blessed with parents who love and respect you...I'm sure your brother, once he got over that whole "Halloween candy" incident thinks you're pretty cool too!!
Have a wonderful, super-terrific day!!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdkuroiwa

Officially my favorite Mrs. G post ever. I loved this, especially about propelling the walker across the carpeted house in record time when she heard a popsicle wrapper.

What a wonderful validation for a young woman!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMarymurtz

Oh Miss G, you have fantastic taste: the catsuits, the school, the secret boyfriend.

Happy, happy birthday.

(And Mrs. G: I am taking notes and hoping my girl bakes up, just right, like yours. I'm so glad you suck at details.)

(And I got my book. Can I say, yay?)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Milton

Happy birthday Miss G. I hope that in 8 and 10 years, my two girls rock as much as you do!

Yay Miss G! You rock, and you are going to LOVE Reed.

(and Mrs. G, you look so cute in your nineties glasses!)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterProfessor J

What a beautiful young lady. She does indeed have SPECTACULAR taste in secret boyfriends. I would ask to thumb wrestle her for him but I'm sure she'd win.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKizz

Happy birthday to a rocking redhead! I love hearing about teenage girls that are great role models for their peers.

Great post and LOVE the final picture-incredible capture of life at 17.

God, to be 17 again. (With forty year old knowledge, of course.)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy the Mom

Happy Birthday Miss G! Your Mom has every reason to be proud of you as you have every reason to be proud of her :)
Go get them girl and show them what stuff you are made of!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkim

Sniff. Sniff. It is too bad that right now she is too old for by very renaissance 12-year old boy who should someday be very lucky to fall for a treasure like Miss G. However, when they are both in their twenties, this age difference will not be so ... Hmmmmmm.....

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstanding still

"And you are one of them." I have tears in my eyes. Congratulations, Mrs. G, for raising the daughter of my dreams. And congratulations, Miss G - you have already shown yourself to be an accomplished, intelligent woman. The world will continue to be a better place because of you and your contributions.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Goddess

from walker to reed college, that happened in, like, the blink of an eye, didn't it? miss g is obviously, entirely awesome. happy birthday.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkatydidnot

Happy, happy birthday, Miss G. You have one wonderful family, too!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

That was the most lovely tribute that I have ever read! Happy Birth-day to you and Happy birthday to Miss G.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZenmomma

What a beautiful post-bringing smile to my face and tears to my eyes.
Happy Birthday to you both.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. T

This was really sweet... my son left for college (not far, but still living in the dorm) last year and it was oh-so-hard... but I'm so proud of him!!

I found your site from Gwen's blog... really like your writing :-)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Too quick on the button... Happy Birthday to Miss G!!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTracy

Woohoo, Happy Birthday...17! I was thinking about being 17 yesterday, it's when I meet Mr Hippyhappy.
Sometimes I can't wait till my kiddos leave the nest and start moving mountains, but sometimes I'm terrified!

No fear Mrs G, HippyhappyHay drank wine last night and is very sick this morning. When I read the part about the riding instructor I laughed so hard it hurt and almost threw up on the keyboard. You need a disclaimer. xxxx

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterhippyhappyhay

What a great tribute to a beautiful girl, Mrs. G!

And to you, Miss G, Happy Birthday!! I know you ROCK because your mom says so, and I trust that!! Could you come and teach some study habits to my son?? No? Alright then... :)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGrandy

That's some pretty tremendous stuff right there.

Happy Birthday Miss G! Congrats on raising your hand in class to pronounce yourself a feminist. Those other girls? Chicken shits.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I fear our future if young women don't (are afraid to? don't care?) call themselves feminists!

Good work, Mrs. G. You have raised a fine person, and she's beautiful to boot.

Happy birthday Miss G.! You are so lucky to have a mom who has already told you to call any time for any reason. Take her up on it.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterClaire B.

Happy birthday to an awesome young woman (and her awesome mom)! ;^)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterB.E.C.K.

What a beautiful post and Happy Birthday to Miss G! I got pregnant 2 months after getting married (I win!??)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterThe Boddeker Blog

Happy birthday, Miss G! Here's to growing up gracefully and with love.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNora Bee

I think that raising a daughter with a feminist consciousness is one of the best things I've managed to accomplish.

Your daughter is beautiful. Wish her a happy 17th!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterms-teacher

Dear Mrs. G,
Thank you for raising such a lovely young woman. The world is in dire need of her and others like her. I happen to have one myself, my daughter Francesca:)
Wishing Miss G lots of fun, yes I said FUN in college. I KNOW my daughter said there was a class you HAD to take called PARTY^-^ and she aced it:) Great job to two great gals, Mrs. and Miss G!!
HUG LIFE, Marylou

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermarylou

Happy birthday Miss G! May God bless you through your collage years! Man, they grow up fast, don't they Mrs. G?

As usual you have expressed your love with sweetness and humor that makes my heart ache.

Love the glasses, I used to have some very similar to them. Back in the day.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Happy Birthday, Miss G--you sound like my fantasy daughter! And I loved the Halloween story.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Happy Birthday Miss G! Hold on to those dreams :-)

Mrs. G: If I ever have a daughter, and she raises her hand to be counted publicly as feminist, I think I might die from the pride of it all. You and Miss G are fantastic!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterUrbanCowgirl

Happy happy day to the lovely, spunky & intelligent Miss G! I'm sure behind your required teenage disdain, you really do appreciate what a fantatic mom you have.

Please let her pretend to visit me & Mama Milton in Vancouver so she can accidentally check in on you at Reed.

blessings :)

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

By "fantatic" I meant "fantastic," not "fanatic."

And I heartily compliment your choice in secret boyfriend.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstephanie

Happy Mother's Day Mrs. G!!
Happy Father's Day Mr. G!!
And Happy Birth Day to your 12th day of Xmas Present!

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdiana(hahamommy)

Happy birthday, Blueberry Pancake.
I don't know you, Miss G, but I'm freakin' proud of you.

And PS? You got some seriously good hops and awesome, awesome hair! Knock 'em dead at college.

January 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAaryn

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>