Monday, September 21, 2015

Do you remember what you were like when you were 15?

Ask me to select an age at which I was at the height of my youthful stupidity, immaturity and overall confusion, and I'll readily tell you it was 15.

The 15-year-old me is really the only version of myself I don't like.

I was, at that time, lacking in focus on what was important and how I should be applying myself in school. My grades weren't bad, but they weren't nearly as good as they would later be when I started dating Terry and she made me shape up a bit.

I wasn't living up to my potential. Which maybe isn't surprising because, by my estimate, maybe 3% of 15-year-old boys do live up to their potential.

All of this is by way of introduction to the fact that today is my daughter Melanie's 15th birthday. And she seems WAY more together than I remember being at that age.

Part of it is that she's a girl. I hate to say it, but a lot of guys don't really figure things out until they're, say, 40. Girls get it together way earlier.

Or at least it seems that way to me. Melanie is smart, talented, funny, pretty, etc. All of those things we as a society tend to value in our young people...and in people in general, I guess.

She's in her first year of high school, and while she probably feels anything but organized, it seems to me that she's handling the experience beautifully.

For several years until Jack came along, Melanie was the baby of our family. I just always thought of her as "Little Mel." Or "Shmoo," which was something we called her from the time she was a baby.

Even after Jack was born, I still thought of her as little. And for a long time she was. Then, about two years ago, she suddenly got old. I don't know exactly how or when it happened, but one day I looked up and she was extremely into teenager-hood. Boom, just like that.

I'm still reeling.

Anyway, she is becoming the kind of young woman who makes parents proud, and I'm so happy we'll have her at home for a few more years before she moves off into the wide world to experience whatever life has in store for her.

Happy 15th birthday to you, Little Mel. Take comfort in the fact that you're a thousand times better off now than your father was at this age.

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