This girl turned 16.
Just like that. (The 16 things I adore about her are back HERE on the big day.)
So you’d think by the fourth time around Claire was BOUND to know what was coming. All day I figured maybe she was just playing along with not knowing because she wanted to be surprised (kind of like a kid who knows about Santa but just can’t quite admit it to himself). But I think she really was genuinely surprised to come in and have that giant group of kids jump out at her, and that was so fun.
But let’s wait and back up for a second to the morning. Because SIXTEEN!! It was such a big day!
We had our traditional bday breakfast:
Lu made sure to make our traditional candy bar poster:
Lu gave her the sweetest gift that took her forever to make:
Let’s get a closer look at part of that gift:
As soon as she stepped out the door to school I worked fast and hard to bake three cakes and get things ready in preparation for the surprise party before I took her out of school for lunch. As I was hustling I accidentally dumped one of those cakes, fresh out of the oven, all over our cabinets and the floor and my new shoes, gosh darn it!
I could NOT believe it but I got right to scooping it up and trying to mold it on the cake platter anyway…maybe no one would notice?? HA! Those are just the remnants after I scooped everything up on the left down there:
Needless to say I was sweating by the time I picked her up from school, but there she was, such a glowing and happy sixteen-year-old lunch date!
Tried to be nonchalant just hanging out after school, all the while texting back and forth with her friends who were spreading the word about where to park, how to distract her, all that jazz.
That core “organizing” group hung at our house for a little while as I cooked Japanese curry (Claire’s dinner choice) and I felt so much love for them as we talked around the counter before they headed out so some other friends and I could finish setting things up.
Our house was filled to the BRIM with SO MANY KIDS who gave her a grand surprise when she walked in and she was SO HAPPY.
I never even got our traditional family-with-the-cake-birthday-picture in all the commotion, and because the cake was smashed to smithereens, so this will have to do!
Here was an attempt to get at least some of them in pictures:
It was a good night.
Claire got her driver’s license a few days later while Lu and I were in Wisconsin.
I tried to talk her into waiting until I got home, because I’m crazy like that and wanted to be there! But she was DYING to get that thing (it had to be after her birthday since we were in Bear Lake when she was permit-worthy this summer so it pushed her real license off a week), and really, what a fun date for her and Dave. Sweetie Dave recorded the whole driving three-point turn thing on our family Marco Polo and I was dying watching it in the waiting room at the clinic with Lucy. It looked like she hit a cone and I think my heart was racing as much as hers must have been.
But she came out smiling from ear to ear and she GOT THAT THING.
We are all so excited. But also a little melancholy since that means I won’t be driving with her as much and she’s also my last kid to get a license. Lucy won’t be able to do that. That makes my heart ache so I’m not going there, and just basking in the amazingness that we have another driver.