Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sweet Sixteen

Our teenager, sleepy and active and happy, is now apparently sweet. Yes, hard as it is to believe, but she just celebrated her sweet sixteenth birthday! She remains her usual self; reading and swimming but now snap chatting as well. She still has stuffed animals on her bed but also has band posters and Polaroid pictures of her friends stuck all over the walls. I remember past incarnations of her bedroom fondly; the ballet bedroom, the princess bedroom and the long standing mountaineering  bedroom. The new bedroom design? Sort of zen. And she needs it. She is a busy teenager with less free time than ever before. She is fine. The rest of us just want to see her more!
As a birthday treat, we all traveled to Aruba for a long weekend get-away on Dad's hard earned miles. We don’t know the Caribbean at all and were surprised to learn Aruba was just fifteen miles from Venezuela. The kids asked if this could count as visiting South America. Based on how far out they swam in the ocean, I think the answer could be yes. As we flew in, seeing only blue sky and white beaches out of the window, the entire plane got giddy and it did feel like we had come a long long way from New Jersey.
The trip was incredibly easy. Our hotel had multiple pools and a fast water slide. We were a short walk from the beach, that was clean and calm. We had wondered if it would be a problem to watch NFL games there but no worries. The Packers game was on every TV. Thankfully as that was the great one, the last minute victory nobody wanted to miss. We found food we liked. The wifi worked. Really it was just easy, with beautiful beaches and the occasional funny square coin coming back to us as change. I suppose it didn't feel as foreign as most of our trips but with all the teenage milestones going on, when needed something safe and calm...or at least the parents did.
On Tori’s actual birthday, we tried to add some of our usual traditions despite not being at home. We had balloons tied on to her chair at the beach. We had cake in the airport and balloons decorating our house when we returned. Throughout most of the day, Tori handled the most consistent tradition herself; reading. She finished the last Harry Potter book on the plane ride home, having recently re-read the series. There is still a little girl in the big girl who now lives with us.


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