Turning Double-Digits

For several weeks, Ingrid reminded us she would be “turning double-digits” soon. Her days in single-digit land were numbered — the end of an era.

We practiced spelling “diez” in Spanish, instead of “nueve.”

Once, I took the girls to a park. They all assembled with friends in chatty groups. One lay in the grass, one cuddled near the slide, and another cradled in the swing. I couldn’t find Ingrid. I called to one of the girls to ask where she was.

For answer, Ingrid dropped from a tree, followed by a couple of boys also dropping from the tree, and sped across the playground.

That explains Ingrid.

I check her neck for ticks. I shake my head in disbelief at the bruises and scrapes and cuts on her legs. I buy extra jeans because she wears them out. I throw away shoes instead of passing them to Dagne — they are too “Ingri-fied.”

For her birthday, she requested a day with her dad.

“I want to hunt and fish and hang out around a campfire with Dad,” she said. “We can eat sardines and beans from the can.”

A girl after her father’s heart. They did just that.

Our friends showed up at her volleyball tournament with her birthday present — several pieces of chicken that she could tear at with her teeth and greasy hands while she bossed kids around.

Of the four girls, she’s the most like me. I remember “hanging out with Dad.” When he worked on the car, I handed him the tools he needed. I built a fence by his side. I played soccer with him.

I chose boys for companions because we liked the same activities.

I argued, I talked back, and I had a quick temper. So does she.

I experience meltdowns when tired.

Ditto for Ingrid.

I picture the girls and Ingrid like the puppies in Lady and the Tramp. The three lovely, lady-like puppies sit in a row and say, “Yes, Mr. Trusty” … but the little Tramp tears across the carpet and attacks Scottie’s sweater.

She’s double-digits now. These moments won’t last forever. Soon, she’ll be an engineer, or something like it. I’m going to miss the little girl in those single-digit days.




  1. oh shoot! I was just thinking about her today and realized we missed calling her on her birthday! Would you please, please, please tell her that her auntie is forgetful but that she is absolutely “unforgetable!” It is dejavue…seeing Ingrid and Dagne….they are lil’ Danielle and lil’ Elida all over again! I miss you guys!


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