No, this isn’t a lost Halloween post, dudes.
I’m wishing happy birthday to the only niece who was a baby when I first met her.
And issuing a warning. If you live in the Jacksonville area, be very, very careful while driving for the next couple of months. Yes, Boo is turning 16 today and will be allowed by Duval County, the city of Jacksonville, the state of Florida and these United States of America to drive — by herself — whenever she wants to do so.
Okay, standard make-fun of new drivers is over now.
In all seriousness, I’m certain that Boo is going to be a fantastic driver. After all, she’s pretty much fantastic in everything else, so why should driving be any different?
Her name isn’t really Boo, of course. But it’s short for Sweetie Boo, which I started calling her just to annoy her mom, my sister, Tia. The name sort of stuck and I eventually shortened it to Boo.
Once Monsters, Inc. came out and there was a cute, little girl named Boo in it. . . Well, there’s no way I couldn’t not call her Boo after that.
It’s honestly been a tremendous joy to watch her grow up. From the very start, I tried to make sure that I never complimented her on only how she looks or what she was wearing that day.
For me, the first thing I told her was that she was going to be a genius when she grew up. And, what do you know, she’s almost there right now.
Not only is Boo destined to play Division 1 volleyball for some very, very lucky university in a couple of years (she’s already getting scouted and she’s only a sophomore), but she’s taking AP courses, honors courses, you name it.
The girl is good in just about everything you could imagine.
And it doesn’t hurt that she’s somehow managed to overcome the genetic handicap of having Tia as her mother and The Teaching Dutchman as her father. She’s beautiful, both outside and in.
With a quick wit, an infectious laugh, and one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever had the privilege to be around, Boo is the epitome of what young ladies should be.
Those of you who aren’t relatives and who have read this far might be wondering if I am — possibly — a tiny bit biased. And, yes, I fear that I am. But, and let me strongly reinforce this but, I am not wrong in this.
Boo is the daughter I wish I’d had. She’s a daughter to make any parent — or uncle — proud.
I am so excited that I’ll get a chance to watch her grow, mature and flourish as she moves from being an outstanding young lady to a stunning woman, able to dazzle with academic brilliance and physical grace and beauty.
Happy Sweet Sixteen, Boo! You’ve got a wonderful journey ahead. I’m so glad I get a chance to watch you go.
Also a belated happy birthday to her dad, The Teaching Dutchman. Sorry, dude, but it’s her Sweet Sixteen. Just getting older doesn’t really match up. Still, we’re glad you’re here.
Share on Facebook