16

16 is a real number. I remember it. I traveled that year. Missed my mom.
16 was the year mom married. Took up residence with a half-stranger indisposed to Viet Nam-brand PTSD. Got pregnant. Began sharpening her survival skills.
I look at The Girl and wonder how can this be? What does a 16-year old know about life, anyway?
Just enough, if her dad and I can help it, but not too much.
For as long as they can may The Girl’s thin worries revolve around road tests and college applications, report cards and prom dresses; may her outlook remain simplistic and unyielding; may she continue to adore puppies and awkward boys; be grumpy at 6:30 a.m.; carry on, unencumbered.
The free spirit of her granddaughters would have pleased mom. And I suspect had she been there she would have worn a tiara to The Girl’s 16th birthday dinner, too.



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