Lots of good things come in dozens. Donuts, cupcakes, never-nudes and candles on Liv's birthday cake. Yes, my youngest, my baby, my darlink girl turns 12 today.
As a preschooler, Liv loved playing dress up. Well, sure. Most kids love dress up. But Liv would stay in character for - well - I think she might have been Dorothy Gale for two full years. She had three blue gingham jumpers and went through countless pairs of ruby slippers. She would only wear blue socks. When the weather got cold and I told her she had to wear tights, she had a fit. "Dorothy doesn't wear tights! Dorothy wears blue socks!" I told her she could wear blue socks over her tights, but that didn't fly. I finally found some tights that closely matched her skin color and she reluctantly agreed to wear those. But it didn't make her any too happy. Dorothy gave way to Laura Ingalls. Laura didn't live with us as long, but she certainly lived with us vividly. Tom and I grew accustomed to being referred to as Ma and Pa. Liv wore her bonnet to go to the grocery store. Or, you know, "to go into town for dry goods."
As she got older, we found out that Liv's convictions weren't confined to character authenticity in her clothing choices. She became a vegetarian at the age of ten and has never looked back. She doesn't impose her beliefs on anyone else, but she holds firm to them for herself. Liv knows who she is and she likes herself. I know a lot of adults who haven't come to that sort of peace (raises hand shyly hoping no one will see me...). To be able to feel it at twelve - an age when many kids are feeling their most awkward, is nothing short of amazing to me.
While she may be all about the tree hugging and animal rights, that's not ALL she's all about. Liv is also a talented writer and musician. Her ideas for stories blow me away. They're sweet, and clever, and unique - just like their author. She's a natural born writer. She also plays drums, piano and baritone. She has a band with her sister and a couple other kids (Um, playing the drums. Not the baritone. Just to be clear.) and they're sounding better than Tom and I ever dreamed they'd sound so early in the game. Her genre? Metal. Speed metal, specifically. I told her she should name her band 'Paradox'. (she didn't)
How could I have talked about my Livvie Lu this long and not mentioned her wit? A day doesn't go by that she doesn't crack my stuff up at least once. And ya know what? When she's sure no one is looking? She still kisses me goodnight.
Happy Birthday, Punky Punk! You rock my world!