Sweet 16 & Never Been Kissed…

WOW!!!  Two postings in one day!  Better mark this day down for posterity sake.  Actually, I just couldn’t let the day pass without reminiscing just a bit about the past 16 years with my lovely daughter, Victoria.  To say the time has passed all too quickly would be an understatement.  How well I remember my own mom telling me not to wish my life away when I couldn’t wait to turn 16.  I just had to get that driver’s liscense ya know.   She said the older I got the quicker my life would go by.  At the time I thought she was nuts because it seemed to take forever for my birthday to roll around, not to mention Christmas, but as I have aged I have found her words to be truer than I would like for them to be.

Our daughter was born a week earlier than expected.  It was fortuitous to say the least since the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around her neck.  I remember laying on the hospital bed listening to her heart beat strong and steady.  Then, all of a sudden, her heart began beating slower, and slower, and slower still.  I held my breath, waiting for it to stop all together.  Her dad was standing out in the hall talking to our assistant pastor whose own daughter had been still born.  I was paralyzed it seemed, unable to call out for help.  All I could do was listen to the heartbeats get slower and slower.  Finally, they began to pick up again, I came to my senses, and was able to call to my husband to get the doctor.  When the nurse arrived and I told her what had happened she checked the monitor and then the staff jumped into high gear.  Our baby girl arrived shortly thereafter.  Thankfully, she was still alive and seemingly unharmed by the trauma.  Only time would tell if there was to be any permanent damage to her brain from the loss of oxygen.  Because she had fought for her life, we knew she had to have a strong name to match her willpower.  Our first choice for a name had been Heather.  Somehow, that name no longer seemed suitable for our little fighter. 

My boss at the time was married to a lovely woman named Victoria.  I had contemplated that name as well but had liked Heather for so long that I thought I’d wait for a second daughter to come along and call her Victoria.  One of the young mothers that I had met through our foster parenting group had told me how she had wanted to pick names for her child before it was born only to be told by her husband that you couldn’t do that until you saw the child.  If you picked the name beforehand it might not fit the child at all.  I remember she said she thought that was a silly idea, but when her daughter was born the name she’d picked out didn’t suit her at all.  The father came up with a name and she said it was perfect.  As we pondered whether or not to call our daughter Heather or Victoria I remembered that conversation.  Looking at my daughter and knowing what she’d endured to be born, I couldn’t name her anything but Victoria which means “conqueror; victor; victorious” and fit her to a tee.  Victoria was the Roman goddess of victory.  Her Greek counterpart was Nike.  Can naming her Victoria have anything to do with her competitive streak?  Is it a coincidence that she has been an athlete all her life and that Nike is a brand well known to athletes?  It does make one wonder whether or not a name can effect the outcome of one’s life.

After her first name was decided upon we had to come up with a middle name.  When we were going to name her Heather her middle name was going to be Ruth in memory of her late great-aunt.  Again, this name did not seem quite strong enough for this little girl.  The one name that kept coming to mind was Elisabeth.  This name seemed to be strong enough to go with Victoria.  We used the Biblical spelling, something that she now takes very seriously.  Elisabeth seems to have several meanings that all pertain to God and promises or oaths.  That seemed fitting too as we had been told that we would never be able to have children, but through much prayer and supplication we made our request for children made known to God and He eventually blessed us with two healthy birth children and one adopted child.  That Elisabeth is also said to mean “I am God’s daughter” seemed very fitting indeed for this little one.

Too cute!

Fast forward five years.  Victoria grew to be a healthy little girl and no sign of brain damage was ever evidenced.  In fact, at age four she started K-5, finished her math book in less than three  months and was given a first grade math book which she finished in about five months.  Because of this, she completely skipped first grade and went on into second grade with her brother who is two years older than she.  She’s stayed up with him all these years.  It’s that competitive thing again I think.  The photo here is Victoria just before going on stage for the Little Miss pagent at the local county fair.  She had been asked to represent one of the local businesses whose shop we frequented almost every Saturday.  At that time, she wasn’t exactly the most outgoing child and she didn’t do very well at the smiling part for her walk down the runway.  Even then, there was a very serious side to her.  We have lots of photos where she’s not smiling.  It was just something we came to accept as part of who she was.  She’s better at smiling for the camera now and even hams it up on occasion.  Yes, you could say she’s made considerable progress in that area.

Victoria has had some notable accomplishments in her short lifetime.  In 2005 she won a blue ribbon at the local county fair for her rag quilt “made by someone under the age of 18” entry. 

Victoria as Clara

In 2006 she danced the coveted role of Clara in the Nutcracker.  I had to make her dress and nightgown for the performance.  Talk about nail biting…the lace was from a sheer that I had bought to go over our bedroom windows.  It’s a match to what you see in the novelty room which was once our dining room.  Oh, the sacrifices you make for your children.  I find it kind of interesting now that one of her favorite books is “Gone With the Wind” where Scarlet too wore curtains.  The DVD was one of her birthday gifts this year from her brother and dad. 

Anyhow, in 2006 she won another blue ribbon for her cross-stitched pincushion at the fair.  Her competition was with the older ladies, not the 4-H division.  

In 2007 she won first all-around (gold medalist) to become the Alabama State Champion in gymnastics for her age and level.   At the fair she won a red ribbon for her snowman ornament.  Again she was competing with the adults. 

In 2008 she tied for second in the Alabama State meet which made her eligible to go to regionals in Tupelo, MS.  After the 2009 season ended she gave up gymnastics because she was unable to train the required twelve hours or more a week AND be a company member in Ballet Huntsville (about eight hours a week), AND persue her music at the same time.  Instead, she decided to try out for the Huntsville Youth Orchestra because they only meet on Monday evening.  She auditioned and was accepted as a member.  She played harp in the top two orchestras for that season and is playing as well for the current season.  She is a senior this year and will graduate in May at the age of 16.  

Victoria has been active in the quilt shop to varying degrees over the last six years.  She’s fairly accomplished with a needle and thread and has made many of the sample quilts and stitchery projects you see on display.  She’s taught several of our ladies both redwork and needle punch.  When she has a redwork sample to stitch you will often find her sitting beside Miss Martha who will be blanket stitching another project.  The two of them chat away like there wasn’t the almost 60 years difference in their ages. 

My favorite photo - Age 12

As you can probably guess by now we are very proud of Victoria.  She has grown into a lovely young lady who, more often that not, is still a child at heart.  She loves to pick on her brother and defends her friends with a fierce loyalty not often seen in one so young.  I include this photo because it’s my favorite and it’s a rare sight to see her with her hair down.

Coach Victoria

 
This is her most recent photo.  It will soon hang on the upstairs wall with all the other staff members in the gym that she grew up in and where she is now coaching.  Yes, she missed gymanstics so much that she couldn’t stay away, but because she is so busy with music, dance, school, and the shop she cannot fit competition level training time into her schedule.  She loves her little students and is enjoying her new role on the gym floor.
 
Happy 16th birthday Little Girl!  May God bless you with good health and many many more birthdays.
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