McKenzie radiates light. You can see it, can't you? Her moral compass is straight and strong and she is not afraid to be herself in any situation. That's a comforting thing to be able to say when you're the mom and she's your daughter.
I hear the stories and feel the worries from some of my fellow raising a teenager moms, but when I stop to evaluate my own worries, I find that I have very few regarding McKenzie. Mostly I just feel excitement to see where she goes in life.
And now that she's sixteen, she's on her way to more and more freedom!
For her birthday, Eliza and I snuck her out of school and took her to her favorite lunch-place: Panda Express.
She drove to and from, trying to rack up more minutes towards the hours she still has left to get her permit - doesn't she look like a natural behind that wheel?!
But the most notable thing of the day, in my opinion AND hers (I'm guessing), is a pretty bouquet of flowers. Flowers from a boy. A boy that she likes. That she likes, likes. Who likes her back. And his name is Jake.
It's a good thing I really like Jake, too.
We didn't get to see her much during the day... she went from early morning seminary to school to play practice, came home for half an hour for some quick hugs (and to rub in the fact that she's taller than I am)...
...and then disappeared into Vegas for volleyball practice.
She spends a lot of time in her extracurricular activities and we miss her while she's gone. She brings a sense of order and dependability into our home, along with a flash of fun. She laughs at herself with no problem and will often have tears streaking down her laughing face as she confesses to something embarrassing.
A few days after her birthday, she invited a whole big group of friends out to Cane's and bowling.
Brian and I set up a giant table for them at Canes and then sat by ourselves at a nearby one. Similarly, we got them all set up in four lanes of bowling before sliding into the background to watch. I know she would have been fine if we had joined in with the group, but there was something whispering inside me to stand back and let them be. It's the first time I've ever felt that way, and as we watched and laughed from the round table in the back, they were oblivious to our presence at all. And it was beautiful to be able to see these friends all interact with each other 'unsupervised'. They're a good group of kids.
Happy sixteenth birthday, my wonderful Kenz! You are so loved!