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Phoebe is 17!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

It's her birthday. Phoebe's 17th birthday.

And we're without power or phone, having had our traditional Phoebe's Birthday Derecho which has knocked out power for counties around. This time, I have a generator, and I got it started all by myself, plugged in the refrigerator, modem, cellphone and computer, and I'm good to go. Bought the thing after last summer's derecho, which left us without power for nine (count 'em!) days and, while it was at it, smashed our Garden Pod to smithereens. I'm delighted to say that the new Groanhouse survived these 60 mph winds intact; that I had the sense to buy a generator after the last such outage, and We Will Survive.

The last time the power was knocked out by just such a storm on Phoebe's birthday, we had a Haunted Party out here in the silent house with a bunch of screaming girls who loved it so much they come out here at the drop of a hat now. We love those screaming girls. Phoebe has the most awesome friends. 

I won't be able to bake a birthday cake, though. My dopey new oven has electronic ignition, so it needs power to relight every time the flame goes out. Duh, duh, duh. Give me a manually-lit pilot any time. So, since I cannot bake her a cake, I will pay tribute to our most marvelous daughter in words and pictures.

Phoebe's had quite a summer so far. In late June we headed for New England to look at colleges, because she wants to go to college in New England. Who can blame her? They do colleges well there. 

First stop was Bennington in Vermont. Would it be Bennington? Oh yes, oh yes. She loved Bennington, as she knew she would.

Who wouldn't love a college with an old dairy barn as its main office?

Goldilocks walked and wondered. It was all so beautiful.

But then we went to Dartmouth. And she loved Dartmouth even a little more, because it sank in on her that bigger might be better where colleges are concerned.

And then we went to Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine, and like Goldilocks in the baby bear's bed, she found Bowdoin juuuust right.

Plus, Brunswick has awesome ice cream.

She may be a Polar Bear in the end.

Mama Bear was bemused to see the care with which Goldilocks filled out her admissions questionnaires. She considered each question as if her life depended on giving a good answer. No messing around here. Liam offered ideas and suggestions.

Soon, it was time to go to Maine, to Hog Island, a place full of magic.

There, Phoebe and Liam nominated Toddy from Massachusetts to be their adoptive grandmother, because that's the kind of kids they are.

When we were done in Maine, we swung south to Cambridge. We made her look at superbig, kind of scary, awfully urban Harvard. Even at my old freshman dorm room at the corner of Weld South. No, there as yet is no commemorative plaque. :/

Too big, said Goldilocks. Too noisy. Too many people. Nah.
 Oh, you just wait and see, said Mama Bear. You're going to apply. Oh yes you are. Because you never know. You might just get in. And wouldn't that be a lovely problem to have?

We left Boston and headed for Harvard Mass where my lovely sister Barbara hosted us.

And Phoebe dwarfed her, too...and Barbara's taller than me.

There was some wonderful cousin time with Max and Will, my grandnephews and Barbara's grandchildren, who thought Liam hung the moon. Which he did.

We went to Connecticut where we saw my terrific sister Micky and her family, and visited my mom.
It was bittersweet.

We swung down to Bethlehem PA where we saw Corey and his family after a whole year. We'd all met on Hog Island last June. That was sweet.

We came home from our great odyssey and mowed and weeded and washed clothes and took off again for Pittsburgh, for a Pirates game, which we won! Yay!

Of almost equal interest to me, as a biological anthropology major, was AnthroCon, a convention that happened to be going on in Pittsburgh while we were there. It was composed of people who enjoy dressing up as cartoon animals, who refer to themselves as "furries."

I noticed that there are a LOT of foxes.

 Who were staying at our hotel. Some in full costume; some just wearing ears and tails hanging off their pants.

I never stop learning about Homo sapiens.

We hit Pittsburgh's Strip, which has certainly the world's coolest candy store

and Burgatory, which has awesome milkshakes and burgers

and it hit me that this child has a pretty wonderful life, which has made her a pretty wonderful young woman. She cares for the small and helpless

and she's every bit as good at it as her mama. 

She is kind to animals of all sorts, and they love her right back.

Most of all she is kind to her brother, who worships her. We can see him preparing his heart for her departure, and it's hard for him to let her go. We have one more year with her before that happens, and we mean to make it memorable.


What she will become, who can say? When you're good at everything, it's hard to narrow it all down. So don't ask her what she wants to be or do when she grows up. She wants to do it all. All we know is that whatever she ends up doing or being, it will be 


Happy birthday, Mrs. B.


Happy, happy birthday Phoebe. I am glad to know you.

And Julie, that picture of you with your mother is beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

Such a bittersweet time. Happy birthday, dear Phoebe! Going off to the big world is an amazing and intimidating prospect. New England is grand -- as you know already. Boston gets to be a lot less intense once you're there. If that's where you end up. Good luck, and we at your mom's blog will be watching and wishing you well.

I read, "We can see him preparing his heart for her departure, and it's hard for him to let her go," and tears sprang to my eyes. The love binding your family together is fierce and wonderful!

Happy birthday to Phoebe, and happy Phoebe's Birthday to her ma & pop! And fingers crossed the power comes back for you all real soon...

This is one of your best blog posts ever!

This is one of your best blog posts ever! Trust Phoebe's instincts. She knows where she belongs.

sorry, no way Phoebe is 17!... I mean that would put me somewhere well past 39 and that just can't... er, uhh, well, nnnnevermind.
Ok maybe she is 17, and any college will be lucky to grab her.

Oh, the circle game. Cartwheels turning to carwheels. On and on it goes...

Glad I got to be a stopover on the grand East Coast tour. For the record, there are far worse litmus tests for picking colleges than the quality of the ice cream nearby.

Happy Birthday, Phoebes. Go Pirates!


Posted by KH Macomber July 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Happy Birthday Phoebe!

Happy birthday Phoebe.

Sounds like it was a wonderful road trip.

What a lovely tribute to a very beautiful young woman. Happy Birthday, Phoebe.

Sweet. The girl and the story. I agree with Tina T. She will know what's best for her.

Happy 17th Birthday Phoebe. You have been a part of my heart since I met your mama many years ago up here in Michigan (and now I finally have my own Phoebe, only she is furry with a tail that never stops wagging, like an Eastern Phoebe). I would have ended this post with the word 'awesome', using it in the true and deep sense of the word, not as a casual expression. In any case, I totally trust your mother's word sense and know you will have a wonder-full future.

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