And, yes, that is her sister's raised arm holding a rifle, a toy rifle at a Wild West shooting range. Just didn't want anyone to think we were Branch Davidians or anything.
She labeled her birthday Oliviapalooza. And boy, did we palooza it up.
The day began with ice skating. (Yes, we have skating rinks here in the Land Of The Tropics. Our Stanley Cup-winning hockey team has to practice somewhere.)
We then ventured down to the big city to ooh and aahh over Christmas lights. Odawg was hoping Santa was still at the Christmas Village. Did I mention she's 19 years old? But, alas, Santa was gone, probably on his way to Bermuda.
We stopped along the way to paint some pottery. Odawg painted a dog dish for our new puppy. On the bottom of the dish, she painted the words, "Bitch Needs More." So hysterically brilliant, especially since I'm the one who thought of it.
I painted a coffee cup...or at least I tried to. My artistic skills stagnated at about the age of 4. I stenciled it with shoes and purses, but they ended up looking like pink blobs. Clearly, I am unable to master the elementary skill of stenciling. As my nieces and daughters were painting their pottery in vivid colors with beautiful embellishments and perfect stencils and elegant swirls, I decided to erase the stenciled blobs and paint polka dots. Anyone can make a circle, right?
One of my nieces joined us as we were finishing up. She took one look at my cup and said, "Aww...You had the girls put their thumbprints all over your cup. How cute!"
It seems a circle is out of my artistic realm.
We finished up with dinner, where The Hubby joined us. He went straight to the bar when we walked into the restaurant. It's not his usual m.o., so I followed him and asked him what was up.
He took a sip of his scotch and said, "Sometimes, it's just too much. The talk." He waved his hand towards the gaggle of girls, waiting on a plush lounge seat for our table. They hadn't even noticed us leave, they were so busy talking over and under each other.
And even though, there was A LOT of talking, everyone, including The Hubby had a good time. I think the scotch helped him accept the fact that his life, 19 years ago, changed into one long, gabfest.
It's hard to believe our girl is 19 years old. It seems like just yesterday, I was laboring and laboring and laboring....
An enormous crowd hovered in the waiting room, spilling out into the hallway. My family is more like a large tribe and then there were the friends. I kept telling My Hubby to send them home. From the looks of all things dilation, this was going to take awhile and I'm very much into punctuality. I don't like making people wait. But, they stayed, waiting and waiting and waiting.
My gang was the talk of the delivery floor. Every medical person who came into my room, greeted me with, "Have you seen the size of that crowd out there? They're camped out, lining the hallway."
And I was all, "Um, no. If you haven't noticed, I'm all jacked up with IV's full of pitocin and fluids and epidurals and I've got a gown exposing my not-so-flattering pregnant ass, so no, I haven't been able to get up and have a meet and greet."
It got to the point where every time the doc would stop in for a quick check-up, he'd leave with, "I'll go tell the gang the latest."
She entered the world at 2:20 AM to an excited crowd of fans.
In recovery, they brought us our new baby, all cleaned up and swaddled. We were so excited, yet a little concerned at the same time.
She had a lot of hair.
Not on her head, mind you, but in other places, like coating her arms, down her back and on her ears.
We called the nurse over and whispered, "Is this normal? Or did we just have a monkey baby? Should we contact the freak show?"
The nurse reassured us that our baby was not indeed a genetic throwback from pre-historic times, but had just retained some of her furry pre-birth hair that all babies have. She also noted that babies of Mediterranean descent have more fur than others.
The hair eventually fell out, well...except for her legs. That tiny, delicate girl has the legs of a gorilla. I told my Hubby, the minute she asked to shave her legs, even if she was 2, I was going to let her. No one deserves hairy, gorilla legs.
The ride with her has been joyous; at times-maddening; at times-worrisome; full of laughter; and always, always intoxicatingly sweet.
The last year, before she went off to college, was a tough one. A girl perched on the edge of adulthood, who thought she knew better than us, caused some rip-roaring scenes at certain times. I fretted that the bond between us was severed irreparably.
But, then she went away. And she learned the time-honored lesson that perhaps, her parents DID know what they were talking about.
She has come back from college on winter break, a different girl, a lovely girl, an absolute pleasure to be around.
The other day, I said to her, "Hon, have I told you what a wonderful young lady you've become?"
And she said, "Yes, mom. You've told me every day so far. It's getting kinda old."
Not for me, my girl. Not for me.
She applied for film school this year.
On top of learning how to stay up all night and wake up just in time for class the next day, she had to submit a rather intense portfolio to her college's film school.
There are over 200 kids applying to film school. 30 will be chosen.
Her portfolio was crunched into the last few weeks of the deadline.
It was a lot of work, some profuse tears, and not an ounce of sleep for 2 solid days before the deadline.
She has made some great films over the years, but the students were told to make something new, something that told a story, something that did not resemble a music video.
That completely disqualified her masterpiece of a film, right here.
She made a film to be proud of.
Her father and I are so proud of her, of her persistent pursuit of her dreams, of her determination, of her good grades, of these first great steps she's made towards adulthood, of the fact that deep down, even in the midst of screaming matches, she has always been that sweet, kind, good girl we pinned our hopes on from the day they handed us our monkey-eared baby.
Her film involved a lot of players and many different locations. And for those of you, like me, who don't understand a bit of the mechanics involved in cinematography, she used a technique in parts of the movie called flash...something, I don't know. But, it involves still pictures combined together to make it look like moving pictues and it's something special in the film world. All I know is, it caused a lot of crying during editing, but the final effect is phenomenal.
The only disturbing part of the film is watching my 15-year-old daughter portray a woman with a positive pregnancy test. Dear Lord, please don't ever let film imitate real life. Please.
Olivia, we love you immeasurably and no matter what happens, you amaze us, every single day. Happy Birthday, hairless legs. Thank God for Venus razors.
And so, I give you my daughter's latest film, hopefully a pivotal one in her life, entitled Perfection.
Today's Definite Download: The Beatles simple but magnificent, "Blackbird."
"Blackbird singing in the dead of night. Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life you were only waiting for this moment to arrive."
I am ecstatic to see you soar, my darling, darling girl. My Olivia.