Confidently, a happy birthday

Stella Ubari
Originally uploaded by V'ron
It's been more than a week since Stella turned 12. I'm late with her birthday post. Sorry, Boo-Boos.

Especially when we had a really tight month, especially for a 12 eyar old. She's getting at that age where she doesn't want me around so much, claiming she doesn't need me around so much. s the fact that she still likes going shopping with me is HUGE. We still have fun together, mother and daughter, a kind of fun and knowing in-okes together that I hope we continue to have, even as she dives headfirst into this period of life where she's striking out on her own, trying to define just who this Stella person is. But whether she likes it or not, there's still a lot of me in her. Look at her. She dressed up as a Quentin Tarantino character for halloween for chrissakes? And nobody who knows me is at all surprised.

The best part though, was putting together the costume once she decided that's what she wanted to be. She somehow acquired some mode of confidence this year. It was the moxie that allowed her to put on the pieces as we hunted them down at Goodwill and New to You Kids (that's a boy's sportscoat we found for $4! -- she's still the bargain hunter I raised). It was the creativity she sparked as we figured out how we were going to make Gogo Ubari's weapon: "Well, we could go to Menards and get some chain...."

And she found this confidence this year to start swimming in the deep end of the pool ( a fear she's finally conquered), and to decide she really wants to play a musical instrument, and just the other day, she -- yes, the girl with the massive stage fright -- announced she wanted to get involved with First Stage. She even acknoledged as much: "Mom, I have to learn to get over this. I can't live my life being afraid of doing things in front of people." She's conquered so many fears this year that she's inspired me. Last year she would have NEVER agreed to enter a cart race against grown ups, and in those final nervewracking heats, she would have let her fear get the best of her. No, this year she pushed through that fear and she WON. She didn't give up, she gave it her all and she reaped the rewards. I was happy she won, but I was ecstatic that she didn't give up. She's starting to find that wonderfulness and talent in herself that I always knew was there, and both of us were frustrated that she would never let it manifest itself.

So this year's birthday was especially happy for me. I look back and see how much she's grown in just this past year, not just physically, but emotionally. It's a newfound confidence in herself that I think she's kind of getting off on. It's FUN to conquer a fear. So while I'm sure there's parents who are aghast that I have a 12-year-old who even knows who Gogo Ubari is, I'm right there with encouraging her to choose a costume for a character who, while wacked out of her skull, is beautiful, talented, well trained, and best of all, confident. No, she's not cocky at all yet, and she's still a little frightened about some things. Heck, she's only 12. But this was the year that some kind of self-confident spark finally got lit, and that's cause for celebration in and of itself.

Happy birthday, Boo Boos!


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