Yes, it's true, our little Maven is officially legal in all respects! Who would have thought she ever could have given up clutching her blanket for security and comfort? What an incredible journey she has taken us all along on with her.
Grandma Hughes had just come back from a trip to the Amazon and wasn't due to arrive at our house for a couple of days when she received a panicky call from The Boston Lady. Could she come a couple of days earlier please, I had a feeling things were going to start progressing sooner than predicted. So Grandma H got on an evening train and arrived in Orlando about 10pm on March 15, 1989. The Writer had long gone to bed and Mr. T and I sat up until about midnight talking with Grandma. Two in the morning I woke up with "indigestion". I never had early labor with The Writer so I didn't know what early contractions felt like, but Mr. Tennis said indigestion does not come in 5 minute intervals. He had secretly been timing my complaints! Called the doc. Woke Grandma H up, much to her surprise and amusement. Bleated out last minute Writer-care instructions and drove to hospital.
Long story short, The Maven made her appearance at 8:34am March 16th and life has continued to be a whirlwind ever since.
Grandma Hughes and her first and only granddaughter on the day she was born. Mr. Tennis went home to get The Writer and Grandma H. The Writer always recollects that he thought they were going to stop by a popular hamburger place on the way to visit his new sister since The Maven shares the same name with that place. Mr. T and I didn't decide on her name until the drive to the hospital. So unlike us.
Orlando Grandma with her new bootied granddaughter. That head of hair (The Maven's) eventually lightened so much that it looked like she hardly had any her first year of life. No matter how much pink I dressed her in, people would still say things such as, "that's a handsome little fella you have there". Uh, "he" is wearing a dress!
The Maven at 6 months
First birthday for our girl. Hair starting to come in!
Real or stuffed, The Maven loves animals. Here Cheetah looks like she is still in shock from having her household disrupted yet again by one of "those loud two-legged creatures".
She lost some teeth at age 7, but gained a hamster. I think this is Goldie, but there have been so many that it's hard to keep track. She still owns a hamster to this day because as she said, "I wanted to be able to come home to my apartment and say hello to something with a face" - I wonder how her roomies feel about that statement?
The Maven developed many interests and skills over the years. Playing basketball was a big part of her life, but she also played soccer, took piano lessons, was a girl scout, played trombone in Middle School, was obsessed with horses for a number of years, became a student sports reporter for the Orlando Sentinel and worked on the high school yearbook staff. Now she attends college fulltime at UCF, works parttime at her theme park job and plays guitar, even writing her own songs. In her spare time, she and her roomies keep themselves pretty busy and entertained.
It may have been a short-lived interest, but I have the picture to prove it was real! 7th Grade Maven.
Now, this is a skill and talent she has stayed with and loves.
Melrose guitar studio 2009
The Maven always loved the water and was an excellent swimmer and enjoyed snorkling from the young age of 3 in the Florida Keys. If there was an adventure presented to her, she wanted to be part of it.
At the age of 3 in the Florida Keys. Same trip she started snorkeling with her dad.
16 years later she's still at it. And so are we. That's a stingray, by the way.
Here's a proud Mr. Tennis with the apple of his eye, or as he likes to call her "Sunshine". A very accurate nickname as she has always brought a certain lightness and happiness to our family. But don't let that sunny disposition fool you. The Maven has a very strong and resilient inner strength. She is one tough cookie when it comes to facing obstacles thrown her way. The same stubborn determination that drove her to keep up with her big brother and Dad has served her very well as she has gotten older and faced some challenges that would have bested the most experienced adult.
Another animal friend for The Maven. Cruise, June 2006
Same cruise, same Maven, and The Writer. This picture defies description beyond that.
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling,
but in rising every time we fall."
A fitting pronouncement from a wise philosopher in regards to one of my personal heroes. My daughter. She and I may have our less stellar mother/daughter moments from time to time, but we know we can count on each other when the going gets rough. Bring on the next 21 years, I say!!
And just because I know she will laugh when she sees this picture that I hate of myself, I will post it. Because there's no more wonderful sight than seeing The Maven laughing (even if it's at me!)
New York City, March 2007.
I think she likes this picture because she appears to be controlling me.
Happy 21st Birthday to The Maven!
13th birthday. You know who they are.