I am tempted to relate who she has been through the years, to recall her nature as a baby or toddler or even a grade schooler.
She is none of those things now. Although what she was then has certainly led to what she is now, it doesn't really matter because she will never be those things again except in photographs and videos and my memory banks.
She is half-child, half-teen.
She is compliant and obedient and sympathetic and kind and helpful.
She seems younger in maturity than how I recall myself when I was her age, oh these many, many, many years ago.
She has a zany streak, which is brought out most of all when she is with her BFF.
She believes her younger brother has been placed on this earth with the sole purpose of ruining her life.
She believes a younger sister would have been the better choice for her nurturing and caring and quiet soul.
She is swayed only by music and the need to dance. She does not fall prey to others trying to sway her to darker deeds.
She decides what is fashionable and peers be damned. Mismatched flamboyant knee-high socks worn with colorful shorts and a non-matching shirt, topped by yet another mismatched head band, makes her look cool. She knows that is true.
She is fearless, tromping off to sleep-away camps and adventures of her own with little concern of how we will manage without her.
She dances on stage, alone, in talent shows, and raises her hand to volunteer to do anything that puts her out there, front and center.
All of this she is, encapsulated in a 12-year-old girl.
Happy birthday, Daughter. I always feared having a daughter. You have shown me there is nothing to fear.
[Photo of BFF and Daughter, courtesy Joanne's phone.]