ally-a-tude-a-thon day 465: seventeen. years. old.

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“Hey, is that me, in there?”

 

Dear Little Ally Girl,

You are 17 today. And I couldn’t be more surprised. It feels like just a few seconds ago, that I was nauseous for the eight months that you and I shared a space. Have I ever told you how grateful I was that you gave me that month off?

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“Where is the ball? I want the ball.”

 

You cried a lot that first six months. I think it’s because you couldn’t find a soccer ball (maybe this accounted for the nausea, too). Once that was over, you were a funny little toddler. Shy, but always trying to keep up with your big brother. And while we made you try ballet and acting, baseball, basketball, piano and swimming, it was soccer that lit you up like a shooting star.

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Here’s the ball. You were like two here.

I so admire that you have become your own person. You’re an analytical thinker, and ponderer, you’re a sly observer. And you know how to make me laugh. Not an easy task.

Watching you play soccer from your youngest days has been privilege. While I loved you in your pink tights and ballet slippers, I quickly saw that it was cleats that made you click. It’s been an incredible adventure watching you on fields all over Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New Hamsphire, Pennsylvania and England, where you have gotten better with a ball each year. Your love of soccer is infectious. I almost understand offsides now!

But it is your heart that I want to speak to on your 17th. Don’t be afraid to let it open up wide. This is where you will get the biggest kicks of your life. Let people in, give to them, take from them, and enjoy the ride that having relationships in your life will give you. It’s the best thing you can do. It turns out that being vulnerable can be the scariest, but most fulfilling goal you can score.

Continue to be yourself. Your willful, fun-loving, silly, but deeply thoughtful self. Don’t be afraid to go out there and kick some serious ass. You have what you need to do this, the guts, the smarts, the beauty, the drive. I firmly believe you can do or be anything you want to be. You’ve got an iron will.

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Before you could pick your own clothes, I picked them. Can you tell?

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On your first birthday. Before your party!

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Naked in the backyard!

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The “Peace on earth” christmas card.

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You loved pizza.

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Thinking around 6th grade?

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Riley and his sister.

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On one of our NYC trips.

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This is you. Always with the mouth open (this is me, too!)

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State Cup for MPS. with da girls.

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Score. BHS GVS.

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Paris. Outside Notre Dame. Look at you, you sassy thing.

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State Cup again.

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State Cup or something. MPS.

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Always on the phone.

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This is a perfect picture to describe how you should approach life. You and Jake at the lake.

 

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Birthday dinner at Osaka! 17, baby.

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You and me visiting Barb and Bob on the Cape. Look at those cheeks.GOD, YOU WERE CUTE. You still are!

 

You are a most special girl. My most special girl. You have schooled me in patience and love. You continue to amaze me every time you open your mouth. I would pick you to be my daughter again and again. I love you, Ally Lula! Happiest birthday, my baby girl.