Happy 16th, Big Sister Lu!

I held her in my arms- a tiny thing with elegant fingers, blue eyes, a sparse nap of blond hair, and a perfect little upturned nose. Our second child made her entrance at 22:22, sixteen years ago today. Jeff and I named her Lucca, after a beautiful Tuscan walled city we had visited the previous year when we lived in Florence. I was a few months along before we moved back home- we joke that we smuggled her into the States on the inside

The Italians say that if a pregnant woman doesn't have her cravings fulfilled, her baby will be born with a birthmark in the shape of her unmet desire. And after nearly a year in Italy, I was seriously craving some Asian food. (I know, first world problems!) So we ate Japanese a few times a week to avoid chopstickish birthmarks, and Lucca had a nickname before we ever met her: sushi.

She was a happy little thing too, imagine sushi with a smile. Uninterested in watching television, she had a fierce love for a fabric-trunked baby doll, and would spend hours stuffing her plastic arms and legs into different outfits.

Lucca still loves fashion and has bolts and bolts of flair. As a little girl, she would lay out her clothes- thick cotton tights, so tiny they made your heart hurt, bright dresses and elfin Mary Janes. She had an endless parade of diminutive glasses, mostly blue to go with her eyes, and a feral mane of blond hair. Nowadays, perfectly coiffed, she volunteers as Roman's stylist on school nights, picking out his outfits and thoughtfully laying them over a chair in his room for the morning rush.

Not one to leave the surgery spotlight to her older brother Quinn, Lu has also had her share of hospital stays. We discovered that she had Nystagmus - involuntary eye movements - when she was only a few months old. This led to many visits to the Duke Eye Center, and three corrective surgeries under the age of six. Her eye surgeon at Duke was a bit intimidating and quite well known, continually surrounded by a flock of interns. 

One day Lu had a routine afternoon appointment and settled into the big pleather chair as he rolled over super close to shine bright lights in her eyes. I sat in a parent chair on the opposite side of the room, thumbing through an old magazine, and an intern hovered close by with a selection of whirring and blinking toys to direct Lucca's attention. Except she wasn't concentrating on the toys. 

She's staring at his beard. I hear a tiny voice. "You're stinky." My eyes widen on the magazine. PLEASE NO - tell me he did not hear that! A breathless moment passes. Miracle: he did not. But he follows up distractedly: "What?" *gulp!*

I am WILLING my four-year old not to answer. Emboldened by his question though, she looks at him earnestly and factually states: "You're stinky." Then politely asks "Aren't you?" My blood ices, and I make like I am deaf, engrossed in my reading. I am struggling to stifle my nervous laugh, but the intern wasn't so lucky and clumsily bolts out of the room. "Oh... I... just had... lunch" he trailed off lamely. I'm sure he was glad to see the back of us for another year!

Besides her - um- olfactory skills, Lu has a keen eye for visual detail that manifests in her interest in photography. Favorite subjects include the Romanator, our Yellow Lab Rooney, and of course her own self(ie). She is curious, tenacious, very talented at rock climbing, and likes to travel most anywhere as long as no tent camping is involved. I think she would make an excellent massage therapist, and I'm not just saying that for the free scalp massages and back rubs. (She's gotta practice on someone. Am I right?)

A helpful gal, sometimes I catch her playing her tunes and washing the dishes without being asked. This is unnatural for a teen, but I don't mind. *wink!* She also washes and folds her own clothes, gets up when her alarm goes off (strange indeed!), packs her own lunches, and gets herself on the bus on time. Thankyouverymuch.

Happy sweet sixteen, Lucca! We can't wait to see where your creativity, determination, and huge heart lead you in life! Big love e tanti baci. <3

Kelley


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