Today, my daughter, Hormonie, is thirteen. She may think January 6th, the Epiphany, is about her, but it’s all about me. Hermommie woke up looking like a Death Eater, the Dark Mark under each eye, evil roots black as night, and skin of—what else?—elder. Overnight, I became the parent of a teenager. A teenanger.
It won’t be all bad, will it? It could hardly be worse than last year. And there’s evidence that she’s outgrown her parseltongue. Last night, at dinner, she told me she loved me. And I didn’t even have to give her money.
But it’s not about her, a girl whose favorite bands are Pink Floyd, Sweet, and the Records, while other girls her age are drooling over Justin Bieber; a girl who can nail the sax solo in “Us and Them,” then hit the drums on “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” and then play the lead guitar on “Over the Hills and Far Away” and then sing “Use Somebody”—while drumming!—and sound like the record; a girl who is so quick witted that when I apologized yesterday for my foul language (“The crows are fucking amazing!”), she replied, “I don’t give a shit”; a girl who—wait! It’s not about her.
For Christmas this year, Serena got me a gift certificate for a facial. My appointment is today, but I doubt that even Gina’s powerful elderflower and polyjuice potion can turn back the withered, arthritic hands of time. I guess that’s OK. Truth be told, I wear my marks of motherhood with pride (and just a dash of Photoshop magic).
All of this is just a fancy way to declare my continuing love for my daughter, despite her age and disposition, and to say, in the clearest way* that she will understand:
*Happy Birthday, Serena!
If you want to translate English to parseltongue, go to the parselmouth.