There is a girl I know who is turning 17 very soon.
Because I am her Auntie (and have known her since before she was born) I am probably biased when I report that she is pretty flippin’ outstanding in all of the ways it is imperative to be pretty flippin’ outstanding when one is 17.
To say that she is bright would be an understatement. To say that she is good, and sensible, and caring does not do her justice, though she possesses those qualities, too. She is a strong girl both mentally and physically. She is disciplined in her studies and in her music. She is a girl who will go places. A girl to be admired.
And I do.
Seventeen. That year between “Sweet 16” and college visits. The year made famous in a song. Because I was once 17 a very long time ago, I know that there will be days when she totally “gets” what Janis Ian was writing about. Days when she isn’t feeling fabulous at all. Days when she doubts, or is scared, or feels alone, or too tall, or very small. Days when she feels like she’s all thumbs and out of tune.
Seventeen is the year of standing on a diving board at the edge of the swim raft on this enormous lake called Life. Since there’s no life jacket, this is scary but also pretty awesome. It’s the year of possibilities. Of childish dreams that begin to turn into adult plans and goals for the future yet to be created.
Sunlight and sparkling water and a thousand tomorrows are waiting for strong swimmers like the girl I know.
Happy 17th Birthday, Dear Girl…