I remember holding her for the first time, a tiny breath of air in my arms. Now, 11 years and five months later, she’s more like a hurricane, fierce and natural and only semi-predictable. She twirls and rages, loves and laughs, cries and sleeps, all with equal passion and abandon.
Neale Rose graduates from fifth grade today, and not an hour too soon for her. She’s so excited for middle school that she’d probably be willing to skip summer. She’s ready for her world to expand.
Neale was named after the Florida writer Zora Neale Hurston, author of Their Eyes Were Watching God. “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it,” Hurston once said. “Those that got it, can’t hide it.”
Neale’s got it. She fairly glows with exuberance, and her moods – good or bad – can be nearly palpable. She’s the exclamation point to this family, my chaotic, gorgeous, funny raison d’etre.
Her teen years won’t be easy. Her pre-teen years already have exacerbated my age lines. But holy shit, she is a gift, and you’re pretty damn lucky I share her with you.