Gabbi is what the Latinos call "La Quincinera", the young lady celebrating her fifteenth birthday.
In Mexico, I was able to attend a Quincinera Mass at the Cathedral in Hermosillo. The young lady dedicated her chastity to the Blessed Virgin Mary as she entered society, a Catholic debutante. I was invited to a Salvadorean girl's party which was as lavish as a wedding, with limousines, and a catering hall, and friends dressed in bridesmaid dresses and tuxedos.
I think such celebrations are way overdone in terms of cost, but the idea of a Mass where a young woman promises chastity during her courtship years is one which Evangelicals have picked up on in some ways better than Catholics. I can hear you say, "why don't you, Leticia?" Don't worry, I'm already thinking of something for Gabbi's sweet sixteenth party. . .
Meanwhile, let me wish my daughter all the love she has brought to me. Gabbi is my first child, who endured all my new mother nervousness as she screamed with colic for hours on end her first three months. She taught me how to mother, and then began to mother her little sisters, especially Christina. To understand their close relationship, read her prizewinning essay, "My Sister is Special". No wonder she's in demand as a babysitter!
She is the charming young lady whose Latin is better than mine, who teaches me the Latin hymns she sings in Holy Angels Schola, which will be singing for a Mass on my birthday June 28 (I can't think of a better gift). She's the sharp dresser who can make modest clothing look cool, and whose fashion advice I consult before any of my big events. I wouldn't even think of going out the door if Gabbi says, "you're going to wear that?"
After ten years of being homeschooled, Gabbi works all day on her own, sometimes doing her papers late a night, after she finally gets Mom away from the computer. She is my right hand around the house, always seeing what needs to be done, and quietly doing it.
Always ready for our family jokes with her brilliant smile, she has a great sense of humor and, like her mother loves to play softball. She used to play in the school field behind our backyard, she'd climb over the back fence when she was late to practice. She is already counting the days till she can take her road test (about 360) and I have a feeling that she won't be home much longer, so I try to cherish every moment we have left.
Gabbi dreams of being a Nurse Practitioner because, as she says, "I like working with people," and she understands how difficult marriage is when one is working the long hours of a doctor. She already has her CPR certification and is much calmer than I in a crisis. She'll be a wonderful nurse, she is gentle, compassionate, smart and connects easily with anyone she comes across. She is in great demand as a best friend.
God has great plans for you, my sweet oldest daughter, and as long as you continue in His friendship, trusting your future to His providence, it will be amazing.