…or is it Sour Sixteen? 

Well, I haven’t been sixteen years old long enough to know whether it will be sour or sweet. I suppose it could go both ways.

So, I am now sixteen years old. Scary! (Especially for those who are in the car with me while I am driving.) 

And isn’t it such a sad thing that I can’t even get my own birthday post written about on time? That tells you how much I am dedicated to wishing myself a happy birthday, doesn’t it? But that is completely beside the point. The real point is that I was going to write myself a birthday post, late or no, and tell myself how much I’ve enjoyed spending time with me over the last sixteen years.

Just kidding.

I think.

If I was going to write myself a birthday letter, it might go something like this…

[Drum roll, please]

Dear Kaitlyn M. Bergen,

Your laugh is strange. Your favorite color is green. Your favorite animal is a horse. Your favorite season is fall, partly because that’s when your birthday is. Your hair is dark brown and your eyes are hazel. You are five foot, two inches tall — or should I say short? — which means that you have to climb on the counters to reach the brown sugar in the top cupboard. You have a tendency to get overtired and laugh your head off for the silliest reasons. You’ve been known to laugh hysterically at nothing, just for the sake of laughing. 

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These are the things that most people know about you. There are others things that the average person doesn’t get to hear. 

There are lots of stories I could tell about you, Katie. 

Such as the time you were at McDonald’s with a group of other kids from Awana. You, your brother, and a friend were all sitting at the same table, and for some reason you saw logic in grabbing that friend’s extra sandwich off the table when he wasn’t looking. And of course the sandwich falls apart in your lap and you are frantically trying to piece it back together and wrap it back up in the McDonald’s paper before your friend finds out about it. Which doesn’t happen, of course, and you spend the rest of the evening wondering what on earth possessed you to do such a thing anyway.

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And then there’s the time when spit Jell-O half-way across the Awana room after watching another friend nearly sit down on his plate piled high with pizza. And you had to run to the restroom to wash your face, passing by a room full of kids watching you and wondering why on earth you have Jell-O coming out of your mouth and nose. And then you had to humble yourself long enough to go back into that Awana room and clean up the Jell-O that you’d spewed all over the carpet. But at least it wasn’t you that spilled your cup of pop all over that same carpet, that same night. That was your brother Brady.

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You are strange. You get a kick out of playing catch with an imaginary baseball during family devotions (Brady is also at fault in this episode, considering that he was the one that first tossed you that imaginary ball). You draw cartoon people on your fingers when you’re bored. You blurt out random sentences that make everybody stare at you and wonder if your brains are curdled. You like putting blue dye in the fried eggs to make them look more interesting. You’re always playing games with yourself. You talk constantly to yourself, or whatever imaginary character you’ve made up in your head. Even at the ripe old age of Sweet Sixteen. When you get that faraway look in your eyes, everyone knows that you’re back in the eighteenth century or in the land of castles and kings and pirates. Maybe that’s why your sisters like to pop around a corner and see if they can make out the words you’re saying softly to yourself.

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You still think there’s a monster under your bed ready to chop off your bare feet if you step down during the night. You find some strange joy in memorizing long, old documents that have all those “thees, thous, and therefores”. You like spelling “chrysanthemum” as fast as you can, emphasizing the “e”, just like Anne of Green Gables did. You’d rather stick your tongue out for a picture than smile. 

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See?

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Yes, I think strange would be just about the word to describe you. There are others, of course. And there are lots of other stories and interesting pieces of information I could divulge. But of course I won’t, since I have myself to think of, as well as you. 

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If I was really mean, I could tell everybody about the time you stowed away in the back of your sister’s boyfriend’s truck, just to be able to say that you’d done it. And if I was really mean, I could say that the whole story went something like this: Your sister’s boyfriend was driving your sister home from a friend’s house, and since you just happened to be around at the time of their leaving, you thought it would be quite educational to ride in the back of his pickup and freeze to death on the way home. Well, it turns out turns out that he had a big, silver toolbox in the back of his truck, leaving you just enough room to squeeze in between the tail gate and that cold silver toolbox. Any jarring of that pickup truck, and your chin would slam down against the corner. You cried the whole way home; not out of remorse for your evil deed or pain from the slamming of your jaw on that cruel corner, but because it was so bitterly cold that the wind snatched your breath away when you sat up and tried to see where you were, and if you were almost home yet. You were so cold that you tried to fall asleep to take away the discomfort, and didn’t really care if Mitchell and Brittany died of heart attacks when they got home and saw a frozen corpse in the bed of the truck. You wondered if there was a song that had the words, “the drive home never seemed this long before”, and you found out later that yes, there was, but it wasn’t exactly *ahem* worth repeating, and especially not on your blog. You kept yourself entertained by thinking of what you could say when you hopped out of the truck and saw the astonished looks you received. And for all the time you had to plan ahead, all you could manage out of your frozen lips when you finally reached home and saw their astonished looks was, “Are you mad?” Your teeth were doing a tap dance in your head, and even after a hot shower your lips were still blue. And the best part is that it was all worth it…even though you were sure that you would turn into a frozen corpse before you reached home.

But since I’m not mean, I’ll say nothing of the story.

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There are lots of other embarrassing things that I could share, but I am running out of time. It seems that there are so many interesting stories that could be told about you, strange Kate, that there is not room for them all. 

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But someday I will. I think you should start posting every week on the “Sweets and Sours of being Sixteen”. It would keep us all entertained. I’m sure you’d find many sweet things about being sixteen, and I’m sure you could imagine up a few sour ones if you were absolutely desperate.

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And that is the end of my dear letter to you. I’m sure you’ll keep it and cherish it for as long as you live.

And now…I must take my leave. Goodbye, strange friend.

Yours,

Kaitlyn M. Bergen

And that’s only if I actually was going to write myself a birthday letter. 

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