American Girl

So here's the truth about me: I'm a Tom Petty fan. It started way back when I was just a young thing hanging out at my aunt and uncle's house in Kingwood, Texas. My aunt and uncle were undoubtedly the coolest people I knew, and my Aunt Stacey would turn on TP and the HBs whenever we were all having fun in the pool. And I fell in love with American Girl, and Last Dance with Mary Jane, and Free Fallin'. Lucky for me, my best friend Michelle shared this love, and we spent many hours singing and dancing and driving with the windows down to Tom Petty. Speaking of Michelle, it's her birthday this weekend and I just have to wish her a fabulous birthday! :)

Anyway, over the past two days, I've heard Tom Petty almost every time I've gotten in my car. It must be in honor of Michelle's upcoming birthday. For just a moment, it takes me back to being 17. I remember screaming with all the other crazies at Tom Petty concerts. I remember spending time with Michelle and wishing those days could last forever. I remember, with fondness, those carefree days.

My 17-year-old sister, Laura, is graduating from high school next month. I can hardly believe it. She and I were talking about this monumental moment in her life the other night, and all the mixed emotions that come with it. Saying goodbye to a significant chapter of your life, looking forward to what's next with just a bit of nervousness, wishing you could slow down just a little, or at times, speed up just a little. All those wonderful emotions that go along with already being a highly emotional 17-year-old girl. I hear myself talk about this with Laura, and of course, as a highly emotional pregnant woman myself, I can't help but feel floods of feelings about her graduating.

I remember the day she was born. I remember the day we spent at the zoo when she was so little. I remember driving with her in the car next to me. Listening to her when she'd call me when I was away at college. Having her cuddle next to me the night I got engaged. . . . So many precious memories. And I know, because I've lived past high school, that life goes on and we have still so many more great memories to create.

As I join in her excitement about graduation, my mind flies back to being with Michelle when we were 17. And I hear Tom Petty singing American Girl and I can't help but smile. And I send up prayers for Laura and all that's ahead of her. I send up prayers of thankfulness for those special days that are already behind me, but still remain so special. I send up grateful prayers for having sisters like Sara and Laura and friends like Michelle who are in my heart forever. And I'm glad that I can still hear Tom Petty and roll the windows down and sing if I want to. :)

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