We've both grown and learned in the past 15 years. Let's look at some of the things you've taught me.
Yesterday you were looking through old pictures on the computer and you asked me why I let you wear such-and-such. I looked at you like you often look at me: like I have three heads and the middle one just uttered the stupidest phrase ever uttered by a human. Here's the thing Peach, once you got past say, six or seven, you had your own ideas about fashion and you no longer cared for my advice regarding sartorial decisions. While I still put my foot down about some things and I have always stressed modesty, you know what you like (and most definitely what you don't) and you aren't afraid to say so. So really, letting you wear the thing that you were wearing in that picture was less about me actually letting you and more about me choosing my battles.
You have always been, by virtue of being firstborn, my guinea pig child and that was one of the first lessons I learned: choose your battles. That's been a handy thing to know, so thanks for teaching me that one early on.
You also taught me about laughter--and silliness really. And you still teach me daily. I won't mention the things you have said that make me laugh--like thinking that Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa's name was really Barefoot Contessa ('OMG! Who names their kid Barefoot??'), or calling Stephen Colbert Conan O'Brian, or saying things like "trust me, I'm lying." Nope. Won't mention those things at all. What I will mention is how I see you and your friends do silly things and act ridiculous and not care what people think. And how you are ready to drop what you're doing to wrestle with me at a moment's notice. And how you joke with your siblings. And how you look for fun and find joy daily. You have made me take stock of myself to see if I'm looking for fun and finding joy myself.
You have taught me that you can never have too many friendship bracelets.
You have taught me that there is actually some hip hop music that I can listen to without losing my mind. I, in turn, have taught you that there were rappers before the guys you listen to now and that they were pretty good. (Biz Markie, the exception here, but really how can you not love that song just a little bit? 'Oh baybee you! You got what I neee--eed! You say he's just a friend!')
You have taught me how to use technology because I am an old dog, yo. I know that if I have a question, you will be able to answer it and show me what to do. Which is good, because I don't think this technology stuff is gonna go away.
You have taught me that everything tastes better with Ranch dressing.
More than anything, you, my first born, taught me how to be a mother. At my first glimpse of your sweet little rosebud mouth and your tiny upturned nose I loved you. But I was also panicked because I didn't know anything about being a mother to an actual baby. But somehow, together, we managed to get you to this point--15 years old, healthy, relatively happy, and fairly unscathed (although I make frequent donations to your therapy jar--heh) and you seem okay. No. You are more than okay. You are stellar. You are bright and beautiful. You have transitioned from girl to young woman in spectacular fashion. You make me proud. You wear me out. You bring me joy. And, as a bonus, you seem to sorta kinda maybe like being around me. And as I recall, having been fifteen once myself, that is a ringing endorsement.
I hope you know that I am always on your side. I hope you know that I am so very proud to call you mine. I hope you know how beautiful you are--inside and out. I hope you know how much I love you, because, my Peach, I do. So very much.
Happy birthday! You are my favorite Maggie.