Oct 12, 2016

Happy 15th birthday, Jen!

I'm not sure where time has gone. You were just 5 years old yesterday, and now you're 15.

Jen, when you were 4 years old, you announced that you were going to be a Cheetah Geneticist when you grew up. Your goal was to save the cheetahs from extinction. And, here we are, 11 years later, and you are well on your way.

Your drive, when it comes to cheetahs, never fails to amaze me. (I wish you had the same drive to clean the cat litter.) At 15, you have accomplished so much. I think---no, I KNOW--the highlight of your summer was going to DC and meeting with both the Smithsonian Center for Conservation cheetah keepers, and the International Caucus on Conservation. I will never forget the excitement in your voice when you called to talk about the Smithsonian keepers, and the fact that they knew who you were. Your voice for the cheetah has traveled so far, my sweet girl. Conservationists around the world KNOW YOUR NAME. They KNOW who you are. They VALUE the work you're doing at such a young age. Now...if we can just get the damned Girl Scouts to recognize your hard work (that Silver Award WILL happen). One day, you will understand the breadth and depth of what you're doing, and you'll be proud of yourself, too.

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm nervous for you to go to Africa next Summer. Actually, I'm not. I know that you will be in your element--with the cheetahs, with the geneticists, with the keepers--you are going to have the time of your life. I am so proud of you. You are unbelievably amazing.

I love you for being you. I love that you're not a cookie-cutter teenage girl. I love that you march to
the beat of your own drum, that you value art and music...and that you think wearing tight clothing and showing too much skin is a travesty (WOO HOO!!). You keep rocking your band tshirts and jeans. I'll buy you all the large tshirts you want. #MomApproves

I love that you've found a home in theatre. My heart is happy that you have another family there--that our theatre people accept you and love you and respect you--and that you give those same things back to them. That's what life is about, sweetpea, living and loving and respecting those around you. Do the things that make you happy. Hang out with those that fill your heart. Love those that love you. Life is good. Remember that. And, most importantly, don't be an asshole, Jen. Seriously.

It is my pleasure being your mommy. It truly is. You make me so proud. I am SO overwhelmingly proud of you. I love you so much, that it's indescribable.

Now, please clean the cat litter.

I love you all the spots,