Monday, July 9, 2007

HAPPY, HAPPY DAY!

My beautiful, bright daughter, Kristen Anne, is 25 years old today! The picture above was taken, I think, during the last birthday she celebrated at home. (21?) For once, she actually liked the shirt I gave her! That didn't happen very often!

It's not every day that your only child turns 25, so forgive me if I brag a bit. Kristen is extremely smart, and was named to the "Talented and Gifted Program" when she was in grade school. She read "Gone With the Wind" while still in grade school.

She has an exceptional gift for languages. In high school, she won the gold medal in the National Latin Exam and won first place in the state in the National French Exam and the National German Exam. She was a graduate of Highest Distinction at Bismarck High School.

She won a scholarship to Georgetown University, studying German and French, and earning a B. A. degree in French. Right now, she is pursuing her first love, reading, by attending grad school in library science.

She loved She-Ra and My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake and her Pie Patch (Cabbage Patch.) And, obviously, she loved to read. A petite little thing, she was still "the social director" when it came to playing with other kids.

She was a great kid, very loving and good. But that didn't mean she didn't have her moments. Our biggest battles were over clothes, even in grade school. She insisted on rolling her jeans or pants way up, and her socks way down. She had one outfit I thought looked so cute - a periwinkle blue turtleneck and pink and periwinkle blue overalls. Turns out she HATED that outfit, and tried to sneak another outfit to school in her backpack.

During high school she wasn't rebellious or wayward, but it was during her sophomore year that we discovered that she was suffering from depression, which explained a lot of her moods.

Kristen's path hasn't been smooth and easy. In college, she had a serious physical illness and nearly died. She also had a major depressive episode. She had to drop out of school for a semester and really fight her way back. And she did. On her My Space site, she has a quote from Shakespeare: "She is little, but she be fierce."

Yes, she is fierce, and strong. When she was so ill, there was one doctor who was not preaching doom and gloom. He told me, "She's young and she's strong." That became a mantra for her dad and me. She has learned so much, and she is so wise. She now is often the one counseling me when I have troubles.

In college, she became fascinated with the "Lord of the Rings" books and movies. If you ever want to know the answers to any LOTR trivia, she's the one to go to. She has a deep love for animals. She always cried for the horses who died in movies, not the people. When "Clyde the Bear" at the Dakota Zoo died, she cried buckets. But her greatest love in the animal kingdom is for dogs:

KISSING LADY, THE COCKER SPANIEL (NAMED BY
KRISTEN AFTER LADY IN "LADY AND THE TRAMP")


BEING WATCHED OVER BY BEAU, HER VERY FIRST DOG.
BEAU GUARDED KRISTEN IN HER CRIB, TOO.


KRISTEN WITH "HER BABY", BRANDY,
HER MOST FAVORITE DOG OF ALL
In addition to going to grad school, Kristen also holds down a full-time job. She has a steady, loving boyfriend. She takes care of her body (unlike her mom), her soul, her mind and her spirit. She is responsible, dedicated, funny and cool. As you can tell, her Dad and I are extremely proud of her. So, Kristen:


WHETHER IN SPRING OR FALL,
WHETHER SHORT OR TALL
(OKAY, NEVER REALLY TALL)
I LOVE YOU, MY DEAR, MOST OF ALL.
WHETHER THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
OR ON GRADUATION DAY
I'VE CARRIED YOU IN MY HEART,
AND YOU'RE THERE TO STAY.

WHETHER YOUR HAIR WAS SHORT OR LONG
WITH YOU AS MY KID I COULDN'T GO WRONG.
BE IT WAS PURPLE, PUNKED, SPIKED OR BLUE,
WHATEVER IT WAS, I LOVED YOU.
WHETHER WITH BRACES OR WITHOUT
MY LOVE FOR YOU WAS NEVER IN DOUBT.
WHETHER A LITTLE WITCH OR BABY DINOSAUR,
I COULDN'T HAVE LOVED YOU ANY MORE.

19 comments:

Kelli said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter!! She is beautiful!

Kelli

Rowan said...

I hope that your daughter had a wonderful day for her birthday. She sounds a delightful and strong person - love the photo of her with Lady.

miss*R said...

what a gorgeous, gorgeous soul!!!!
and so you should be proud - the world is a better place with people like your daughter in it.. a very happy birth - day to her and may she have many more - full of peace, happiness and everything that is good xoxo

Kristen said...

Thanks Mom! And thanks for the e-card too. That first picture is from my 20th birthday.

Carmen said...

Happy Birthday Kristen Anne!
What a wonderful life you make us have when we learn about you with your mom's words and feelings for you!
We (your mom's friends) are proud of you, too!
Have a great birthday day every day! LOL!
P.S I adore your mom!

PEA said...

Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter!! It's no wonder you are so proud of her, she sounds like a wonderful person! Having gone through depression myself, I know how hard it is to fight you way back so I admire her for that:-) All the best to her!! xoxo

AnnieElf said...

What a beautiful tribute to your daughter. I know she is very proud to call you mom. Happy happy birthday to YOU.

Kari said...

Even more wonderful than the pictures and the words is the fact that you are able to say them! Sometimes a person can get so caught up in being a parent and a teacher to their child that they have a hard time just saying WHAT THEY FEEL! And really, that's JUST as important as all those life lessons you want to arm your children with, too, isn't it?

lila said...

Happy Birthday to Kristen Anne, yesterday! She is lovely and I know where she gets at least part of that gifted and talented "stuff"...her dear mother!

LisaOceandreamer said...

This gave me a lump in my throat - what a loving, warm, amazing tribute to your daughter. She sounds like an exceptional young woman. She has a wonderful mother so there is a double blessing. Thank you for telling us about her and I wish her a VERY happy Birthday!
XOXO
Love,
Lisa

Bimbimbie said...

Hello .... a little bird called Carmen recommended me visiting you -
and I have just spotted some other new blogging friends here too. Beautiful tribute for your daughter's birthday *!*

Gemma said...

Your daughter is awesome. It is great that she is going to grad school @ this early age. She has the world by the tail!!!! BTW Library Science rocks especially for a bibliophile!!! HB Congrats to her and kudos to you.
xoxo

liz elayne said...

oh this brought tears to my eyes. what a wonderful post about your daughter...

(happy late birthday to her fierce soul!)

nonizamboni said...

Julie -- what a heartfelt tribute to your sweet daughter! [She could have played My Little Ponies with my girls back then.] And I love that you two are SO proud of her.
If the story of her life so far didn't bring tears to my eyes, the photo of Kristen & Lady finally made the dam break.
Thanks for sharing.
Mary Ann

Potato Prints said...

OK, now I'm crying. The poem! The photos! That is such a wonderful tribute. Your daughter and I share several things: French B.A., outstanding academics, love of books, serious challenge with depression diagnosed at a late date. It is only with the steadfast and unconditional love of my parents that I survived.

Happy Birthday and happy birth day. You are blessed to have each other. Thank you for sharing.

Ninnie said...

Sorry I missed your daughters birthday. Happy Belated Birthday to her. She is so beautiful.

Sweetpea said...

thankyou for the birthday wishes xx

Mrs. Staggs said...

Best wishes to your daughter. She is lovely, and sounds like an interesting and quite wonderful person.

T*mmy said...

Happy Birthday to your darling Kristen!!
This post reminded me that I read "Gone With the Wind" all the way through at the age of 19 while preggers with my own daughter...I wonder if that is why she is so dramatic today...teehee!
Anyhow, I popped over to congratulate you on the award Carmen gave you ;)