Friday, October 23, 2015

Do you have a Chloe in your life?

(NOTE: I wrote this weeks ago, as I usually do, and only now  minutes before it gets posted – do I realize that it may not paint the most flattering picture of Chloe. Which wasn't my intention at all. She's really quite lovely. Honestly. I just wanted to say that before you read it.)

My daughter Chloe has always been a little different. If you're a parent of multiple kids, you probably have one somewhat like her: Does her own thing, follows her own path, dances to the beat of a different drummer. You know what I mean.

Chloe was, for example, the only one of our five children who came out of the womb on her own. My wife had to be induced for the other four. But not for Chloe. Chloe burst into the world of her own volition exactly 19 years ago today (on a full moon, naturally), and has been making me laugh, cry and gape in wonderment ever since.

She is somewhat of an overachiever, as was evidenced by her busy high school schedule and full-to-bursting college applications: Salutatorian of her class, student body president, MVP of her soccer team, captain of Academic Challenge, etc.

The thing I learned early on about parenting Chloe was that I shouldn't get in her way. Not because I wanted to give her the room to develop and spread her wings or any of that, but simply because otherwise she would run me over. I learned this in the interest of self-preservation, more than anything else.

Seriously, though, if you have a Chloe in your life, you should also get out of his/her way, because Chloes do best when gently guided but largely left to their own devices. They're independent, strong-willed, purposeful people, and while your advice is appreciated, they thrive when allowed to make their own mistakes (of which there will be surprisingly few, trust me).

All of this is to wish my little college freshman biomedical engineering major daughter a very happy 19th birthday. She is #2 in birth order in our family but #1 in all of our hearts, partly because we admire her and mostly because we fear her.

(This is true, by the way. Chloe had such a temper when she was a baby that my mom and sister were scared to death to babysit her. They saw her as a beautiful yet temperamental demon spawn who could and would explode at any moment...and they were right.)

Happy birthday, little Chloe. And please don't hurt me.

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