I was supposed to post this yesterday, but time got away from me. Quite appropriate that, since 18 years seem to have vanished into thin air. Yes, Victoria turned 18 yesterday. For those who have grown up with her through the shop from age 10 ’till now I bet it’s hard for you to believe it as well.
What’s Victoria been up to in the past year since her last birthday? A lot actually. Thankfully, this year already looks better than last year when she turned 17. You might recall that Belle had to be taken to the vet’s office that day because she’d gotten caught in a steel trap. The vet told Victoria that Belle would definitely lose her leg and maybe even her life. Fortunately, they were able to save Belle, but she did indeed lose her left front leg. It doesn’t seem to bother her much though. She gets around just fine but can be gotten off balance without much trouble if you rub on her the wrong way or push down too hard when rubbing her head. She now resides in Victoria’s bedroom most days and will help keep her warm again this winter.
Fall semester at UAH is coming to a close in about four weeks. Victoria’s still not convinced that she needs to be going to college but has made some great friends over the three semesters that she’s been there so realizes that there are compensations for being where you don’t want to be and having to do what you don’t want to do. She’s doing well academically, is in the honors program, and was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society for first year students this past spring semester. To become a member she had to have at least a 3.5 GPA. I think she ended up with a 3.75 for the year. Not bad for a girl who went into college two years early.
In addition to college, Victoria has continued coaching at Huntsville Gymnastics Center and this fall added classes at Madison Gymnastics Center. She has replaced classical ballet with ballroom dancing on Friday evenings. She also earned a spot on the UAH Chargerettes dance team. It’s a totally different style of dancing for her and she’s having to really step out of her box so to speak to keep up. By that I mean, in ballet when a dancer is en pointe she has to be over the box of her pointe shoe, that’s the toe portion of the shoe. Victoria is no longer en pointe, but she has to be on her toes in order to master moves that she’s never done before but many of the other team members have. Thankfully, they seem to be very patient and willing to work with her on the new moves and new dance vocabulary. Overall she’s having fun and getting some much needed exercise.
As for her music, she spent four weeks at the Sewanee Music Festival held on the campus of The University of the South in Sewanee, TN. She enjoyed being immersed in music for hours on end as well as all the opportunities to perform during the week. She wasn’t quite as thrilled with being put in the dorm with the high school kids rather than the college dorm and having to adhere to some pretty rigid rules about coming and going. She doesn’t plan on returning next summer but will probably look into a different music experience, maybe even one overseas.
She still enjoys playing harp which is good given all that has been sunk into getting her where she is now. I know many of our visitors miss having her here in the shop to play for them, I miss having her here as well. We don’t get to hear her play as often now that she has to take her harp to school and leave it there during the week.
Victoria invited a bunch of her friends from school to shoot skeet this past Saturday but only a couple of the guys could come. Her lifelong friend Bonner was able to come as well and spent the night. The four of them shot skeet, ate hot dogs and birthday cake, and then built a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. We were surprised that they stayed at the fire as long as they did because it was both cold and windy Saturday night, but I guess when you’re solving all the world’s problems time and weather are irrelevant. All in all they seemed to have a good time and future skeet shoots are inevitable. Yes, Victoria is a good shot, but she was bested by one of the young men, Wes, who would shoot any of the clays that she missed. Being she’s of a competitive nature she’ll practice until she gets to be as good, preferably better, than he is.
Yesterday was a great day for her as well. Three of her friends at UAH bought her a birthday cake (chocolate), another friend gave her a John Wayne movie (always a hit with her), two others gave her a Tennessee watch attached to a carabiner (another big hit), and she’s been told that another of her friends from school has something for her as well. Rick’s parents sent her a card and I’m betting there was a check inside, and we gave her a skeet thrower and a Jim Shore figurine.
This year is definitely starting out much better than last year did for her. It was a very hard year in more ways than academically. She’s learned a lot about life, and about the people in her life, that she’d rather not have had to learn over the past twelve months. On her birthday last year she wanted to go back to being sixteen again. I’m pretty sure she’s glad to get seventeen behind her and move on. She still has an outing planned with her two best girlfriends for this weekend and is really looking forward to that. It looks like she’s beginning to take after Miss Martha. Before long she too will be spending the whole month of October celebrating her birthday rather than just on her one special day, October 29.
Happy birthday little girl!