This girl has always had a mind of her own. She wrote short stories when she was 4 years old. Okay, so she couldn't write then. She dictated the stories to her loyal audience, who dutifully wrote down every word, then she illustrated the pages. And they were full stories, too. Oh, I'm not talking Caldicott winners, but I couldn't have been prouder. All of my nieces and nephews have caused me to marvel at the child's mind but Mary made me realize just how advanced their minds can be. I remember one day shortly after her 5th birthday, we were drawing on MSN Paint, a rudimentary medium at best. Mary became increasingly frustrated at not being able to draw a proper hand for her character. I tried, and while my hand was pretty good, it was not good enough for her. I told her, "Honey, it's really hard to draw with a mouse. Just do the best you can." She tried, erased, tried, erased, and tried again, but couldn't get it the way she wanted it. In her frustration, she threw the mouse, which being tethered came back at me. I scolded her and sent her away from the computer. I was so angry at this willful child. Later, as I replayed the events, I started thinking what she must have been feeling. I know the frustration of not getting things just right. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to be a child and have the vision but not the dexterity to pull it off.
So, on your 14th birthday, Mary, I hope you never lose your vision. I hope you always have that mind of your own, regardless of what your friends are doing and saying. And I wish you the very best day.
This photo stolen from her mother's Facebook page. She'll kill me for it.