Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My (Really Super) Sweet Sixteen

My daughter turned 16 this weekend. Aside from wondering how we got here (and how I can possibly be old enough to have a 16-year-old), it's made me think about the whole idea of "Sweet Sixteens."

Have you ever seen "My Super Sweet Sixteen?" Here's how MTV describes it:

"My Super Sweet 16" takes you on a wild ride behind the scenes for all the drama, surprises and over-the-top fun as teens prepare for their most important coming-of-age celebrations. Meet the kids who are determined to go all out to mark this major turning point in their lives, the parents who lavish every wish, and find out first hand what it's really like to turn 16 these days. 

I like how they use the word "really" there. Really, as in "actually," "truly," or "in all honesty." Well, I've caught bits and pieces of the show. Here's how I describe it (really):

A bunch of really spoiled teenage brats spend really exorbitant amounts of their parents' money and throw really big tantrums for the camera.

But, I digress. MTV continues:

... each week "My Super Sweet 16" will document one character's outrageous journey as they plot, plan and prep for the party to end all parties. These kids expect and will only accept the absolute best. Now, it's up to them to make sure jealous siblings, stressed out parents and school rivals don't get in the way. This series gives you an up close and very personal look at the extravagant and sometimes extreme measures teens take to ensure that this milestone in their lives is commemorated by the ultimate celebration. Will their real life Sweet 16 ever live up to their fantasies? 

Here are some of the things that the stars of this so-called "reality series" have "plotted, planned and prepped for" ...

- Brand new high-end SUVs
- Brand new high-end sportscars
- Couture evening gowns
- Couture fashion shows
- Professional make-up artists 
- Professional hairdressers
- $1,250-a-plate dinners
- Parties on yachts
- Parties at country clubs
- Parties with exotic animals
- Parties with famous bands and rappers performing 
- Silver (real silver) medallions passed out as invitations
- MP3 players (real MP3 players) passed out as invitations
- Celebrity guests passed out at the parties
- Guest of honor arriving accompanied by can-can dancers
- Guest of honor arriving by camel (with Rihanna)


Can you understand why I'm relieved that my daughter doesn't watch this show? Sheesh!

Really (really), though, it wouldn't matter if she did. My (really super) Sweet Sixteen had other ideas for her celebration.

The weekend of her birthday coincided with a huge horse show in Vermont. Participating in the event would involve entry fees (less money, I have to assume, than a camel and Rihanna, but not insignificant), renting a horse trailer for two days, paying her coach to accompany us, renting a room at a local inn for the humans, renting a stall at the event for the horse, meals, gas, etc. etc.

"Puh-leeeeeeese," she begged us the day the event was announced (several months ago). "That's all I want for my birthday. Really."

Some teenaged girls (the ones, for example, featured in "My Super Sweet 16") might make a promise like that and then conveniently forget it when the birthday comes around. This is not the case with my daughter. She has been focused (one is tempted to say "obsessed") with all things equine since age three. She started lessons at age five. Started competing at age seven. Acquired her own horse (my husband would argue that we acquired it on her behalf) at age fourteen.

And, she's never looked back. Really.

I sometimes worry that she's a little too focused. But other mothers worry that their daughters aren't focused at all. Regardless, my daughter is willing to work very hard to pursue her passion. I can appreciate that.

And, there are virtually no boys at the stable or at these events. My husband can (really) appreciate that.

So, in conclusion (I have to wrap this up; I have a sixteen-year-old daughter — I feel really old) ... my daughter had the sweetest of Sweet Sixteens. She was doing what she loved. She worked hard and did very well. And no rap star, couture gown, overpriced entree or exotic animal could have made it any better.

Happy Sweet Sixteen, my darling daughter. I'm proud of you today and everyday. Really.

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