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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Sweet Sixteen

This week, Kathleen turned sixteen.  It seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was dropped into the crazy, sleep-deprived world of being a new parent.  But in reality, it was sixteen years ago and now I have a young woman that's not that far from being a full-fledged adult.  Time moves in funny ways when you're a parent.

Kathleen celebrated her birthday in a fairly quiet fashion this year, as we've only be in Kazakhstan for a little over three weeks.  Because her birthday is in August, she either celebrates it in the US with family or in a new country with nobody and nothing to celebrate it with.  She celebrated her third birthday in temporary housing in Cairo, her twelfth newly arrived in Tashkent, and now her sixteenth just three weeks into her new life in Kazakhstan.  

Since we're still living out of suitcases and making do with a miserably stocked welcome kit, the usual celebrations were a little less personal this year.  Instead of getting an elaborate breakfast, Kathleen had to make do with pain au chocolate made with frozen croissant dough.  In place of a special cake made by me, she got to go to the grocery store herself and pick out whatever cake looked good.  And no special home-cooked meal, just delivery sushi.  

But Kathleen is a cheerful child, always looking for the good things around her, so she was happy to celebrate her birthday, even if it didn't have the usual level of fanfare.  Everyone had forgotten about shipping times in the flurry of moving, she her presents are still on the way.  But her brothers came through and gave her some yummy treats for her birthday and I did remember to pack candles in our suitcases.  

In addition to celebrating with us, she also got to go to the mall with some friends.  We live a mile and a half from the biggest mall in the city, so it was easy to drop them off and let them enjoy themselves without the watchful eye of a parent to disapprove of their clothing purchases.  She came home with a pair of non-skinny jeans, which just further confirmed the fact that she is young and fashionable and I am old and not.  But no mother should compete with their teenaged daughters for beauty, so I'm happy to be the old, unfashionable middle aged mother to my young, fresh-faced, beautiful daughters.

It has been fun to see Kathleen grow up into a capable, confident young woman and see my fears about bad parenting not come true.  She only has two years left with us before she moves on to the wider world of college and autonomy, and it's starting to become something that isn't so strange to imagine her capable of.  We'll make sure to treasure those two remaining years with her and continue to enjoy seeing what kind of lovely young woman we are having the privilege of raising.  Happy birthday, Kathleen!

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