Ow. My heart.

Today is Hailey’s birthday.  She’s now officially a teenager, which seems wrong because this was her yesterday:

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Seven years ago today. Happy birthday, sweet girl.

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Or maybe it was seven years ago. Feels like yesterday.

Except yesterday she was still a pre-teen and two days ago I tucked her in like I did when she was still little and I pulled out a book to read her a story. And Hailey thought I was crazy but she went along with it. And I cried a little. And then she asked me to read her another one. And then she cried a little.

And then I kissed her on the head and she said I could still read her bedtime stories, sometimes…if I really wanted to.

It was a nice present. For both of us.

Happy birthday, Hailey. You may be a teenager, but to me you will always be my little girl.

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And then I blinked, and suddenly she was a teenager.

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192 thoughts on “Ow. My heart.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. And then they’re adults. Precious photos you shared today. Thank you for allowing me a glimpse in to your life.

  2. The last time my mom read to me was when I was 12. I’d had oral surgery and felt rotten, and she read me my favorite story, “The 500 Hats of Batholomew Cubbins”. Over 30 years ago. 🙂

  3. Happy birthday Hailey! My little girl is 19 now.. they grow up so quickly. Hug her every chance you get.

  4. This made my eyes wet…
    My baby will be 18 in a few weeks. This time next year she won’t be in my house anymore.
    I can’t even….
    But for now we still watch our favorite shows and listen to the broadway station on the radio and read the same books and laugh, sometimes inappropriately…

    Happy birthday to Haley, and happy birth day to you!

  5. I wouldn’t say that their childhoods passed in the blink of an eye (in fact, I think I’m still recovering), but I do miss my boys. At 20 and 22, they are just barely out of the nest, but oh, how they’ve flown!

  6. My worst fear is that someday my 10yo nephew won’t let me read him a story. It’s my favorite thing to do when I visit. This gives me hope that maybe he’ll humor me for a little longer.

  7. Happy Birthday, Hailey!! You look beautiful, and you must be the same inside, if you let your mom read to you. Have a wonderful year!!!

  8. She looks beautiful and happy <3 And that’s exactly the way it happens: the damn blinking! My daughters are now in their 40’s and just keep getting more amazing–simultaneously admirable women and my little girls. I blinked a few times too 🙂

  9. I remember crying a little when my youngest turned 13 ( I have 2 who turned 20 and 25 this month) It seems unfathomable how fast it all goes. I hope that Hailey has a wonderful birthday.

  10. She’s beautiful, and most importantly, she’s a strong, kind and confident young woman. And she came from you, so pat yourself on the back and enjoy the next stage of her life.

  11. Oh, it happens so fast…cherish every minute as one day you are spooning baby food into that adorable face and the next minute they are 27 and moving 3200km away.

  12. You pushed my Momma Buttons and made me cry. Hailey is beautiful, but so is your writing and your love for her. Thanks for sharing so much of you with us.

  13. This made me hold my 3yo in tears (after chasing her at full speed around the house singing the Frozen song) (she was struggling to get out of my arms, but I’m still stronger than her).

  14. Well that just made me cry in the middle of JCPenneys. Mothers and daughters, man…💕💕💕

  15. My fave. Moment is still when when she opened the tutu from her grandparents. That video was so magical.

  16. Hailey is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Thank you for sharing her with us. I love watching her grow up. You guys have done a fabulous job.

  17. My daughter was heading off to kindergarten last year, I’m sure, and this year somehow she’s graduating from high school. Not sure how that happened. But congratulations on raising a sweet girl to teenager-hood. She’s simply gorgeous, like old-movie-star Veronica Lake kind of gorgeous.

  18. Oh my goodness, she is the spittin image of you! Good thing ya’ll live in Texas so daddy can be cleaning his shotgun when the first boy comes around! My one and only is 35 with four younguns of her own and I still see her as that little girl who was shy and timid and needed her momma (kinda makes for a hard “adult” relationship, tho!). No blessings ever outweigh the love of your child!

  19. Happy birthday, you bright and brilliant and beautiful spirit! You can and will conquer the world with your brains and gumption. (PS you are looking more like your mom every day, lucky creature.)

  20. They’re never to old to read bedtime stories. With either one reading. 😁 Happy birthday brand new teenager! You picked good parents to have, you really did.

  21. Happy Birthday, Hailey! Now I want to call my daughter and read her stories. I miss that, now that you’ve brought it up. I can’t just call my daughter though, I’ll have to call my son too in order to keep everything equal (you dodged that bullet by having only one child). I have a king-sized bed but that might be a little small once we all get settled for stories. Also, my kids are 30 and 28 and that might seem weird to an outsider. Like The Viking. He’ll think I’ve lost my fucking mind. But I’d do it anyway. :o)

  22. Hey Lady. Do NOT doubt your self worth. Look what you made. (and Victor too … a little). Beautiful countenance and gloriously gorgeous heart and soul
    Maybe some classics that you always wanted to read. She’ll be ahead in high school. But NO Stephen King orDanielle Steele – make her get those from the library herself with her friends card and read them out back behind the garage …

  23. This made me teary…because mine is 7 today and in a blink of an eye he will be a teenager and I just hope he will still let me read him stories then too!

  24. That video was so sweet! I find myself watching old videos of my son and remembering when he was so small and sweet and had a cute lisp. Now he’s 15, taller than me and learning to drive! 😳It’s frightening to think about 3 years from now when he’ll be moving out and venturing out into this world alone. But it’s also really awesome, because we often have great adult conversations about life, politics, people, what have you. These are the years where you really get to see what all that effort you put in to making a wonderful human being produced, and it’s wonderful.

  25. What is sad is you will blink again and she will be bringing her daughter to visit. I tell everyone who has a new child to spend as much time as possible with them. Because you never regret missing work or doing one more out of home activity, but you do regret all the time you miss with your kids.

    So wish Hailey a wonderful milestone birthday from me, and hug her like you never want to let go for yourself.

  26. Awww, your story made me cry a little too. To me, my daughter will always be 4 (she’s 33 now). Happy Birthday to Hailey and hugs to you, Mama!

  27. My oldest niece turns 13 in 2 days. Which is weird, because I swear I’m not any older than I was when she was born. Why is there not a way to keep them little and watch them grow up at the same time?

  28. My son just went off again to university after living at home all summer. I thought it would be easier this time but I’m really sad and there’s nothing I can do. It’s the mother’s curse–we raise them to be strong and independent but it breaks our hearts when they are.

  29. It WAS just yesterday! Seth turned 13 in April and I don’t know where the time went. Happy Birthday Hailey!!! This is SUCH a sweet post. It makes me want to read bedtime stories to Miranda and Seth and Miranda is already 16.

  30. Aw Jenny, I know. But what a beautiful young lady she is! And although I don’t know her I bet she is a wonderful daughter and person, just like her mom! Happy birthday Hailey!

  31. She has the best smile – a little like she has the most interesting secret in the world, and perhaps she’ll share… SO beautiful! <3

  32. Happy birthday to your beautiful daughter! Jenny, you are my hero, and your books got me through the toughest period of my life to date. I have just started blogging and someone nominated me for a Liebster Award. Not sure if that’s a big deal or not, but it feels pretty good. Since you are the most extraordinary blogger out there, even though you have an established following, you are at the top of my list for bloggers. So since I had to choose 10 blogs to nominate, I choo-choo-choose you: https://ohwordsblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/24/wowsers-a-liebster-award/

  33. Beautiful then, beautiful now.
    Lucky her. Lucky you (well, Victor, too)!
    Happy, happy, joy, joy!

  34. Hey. I’m 52, my daughter is 21, and when one of us has had a bad day we still cuddle together and read Hippos Go Berzerk. And everything is immediately better.

  35. Such a sweet post…our children grow up too quickly. Glad you shared a moment together and your connection will only get stronger as the years pass. Happy Birthday to you both!

  36. Happy Birthday Hailey! My son started high school this year and he’ll be driving soon. This obviously happened when we were all not looking! 😢

  37. Happy Birthday, Hailey!

    And to you, Jen, I say hang in there. I’ve only been the mother of a teen for a few months now (well, since April) but it has been extra challenging. Hang in there.

  38. She is adorable and she looks just like you. Better still, she sounds smart, funny and compassionate. You & the V-man done good!

  39. From everything you say, and from the tiny glimpse of her at a signing, she’s a fine young woman. You have a lot to be proud of. And she brought me my favorite inspirational quote: “For Christ’s sake, Lois, this is camp! Get tough or die!”

  40. Aw dangit you made me tear up! I’m not lucky enough to have a child of my own to watch grow, but it all seems so magical. Happy birthday Hailey!

  41. What a great story. And the pics of your daughter make my eyes water, for some reason.
    You and Prince Victor should be so very proud of her, and of you, you funny thing.

  42. If she still wants you to read to her, that’s wonderful. Always keep that bond. Happy Birthday, Hailey!

  43. You’re lucky to have her, and she’s lucky to have you and Victor. What a gorgeous young lady! Happy Birthday, Hailey!

  44. Hailey and I share a birthday! Though I have a “few” years on her. 🙂 My youngest(of 7) is 23 now. And it all went by so fast, I still don’t know where all those years went. You have a beautiful daughter.

  45. Happy birthday Hailey!! You and my mother are apparently twins. And you are both beautiful women! Proud to know you😎

  46. Shut up, I’m not crying. 😥 This is so sweet. It’s so lovely when teens are able to let down their “too old for this” walls and remember they’ll always be your child, no matter how old. And Hailey is so beautiful inside and out. Remember when the days get difficult – you made that. 💞

  47. My son is 14 and I read to him at night still. Sure, it’s Harper Lee or Richard Adams or Stephen King instead of Dr. Seuss but still… And he will take our his stuffies and play “Jenny Lawson’s Living Room” (racoon rodeo on cats) because he LOVED that bedtime book too. 🙂

  48. I always love seeing your birthday posts about your daughter because my son is only a few days older than her and it’s so neat seeing how much both of them have changed over the years. She’s such a beautiful soul, congrats to you and her! Hugs!

  49. What a beautiful light in our world! I’m so glad she has you and you have her. 💗

    You for reading bedtime stories. I totally agree with the author of the Read Aloud Handbook: keep reading to kids. Even when they’re old. Even when they’re in college. Keep reading.

  50. Oh man, why am I tearing up? I hope my daughter is just as awesome at 13. Happy birthday Hailey!

  51. My “girl” is 27, a college graduate in her own apartment that she decorated almost all on her own and even made her own artwork. She is amazing, smart, funny and I’m so proud of her. Reading about your girl made me realize how fast it went and how sad/mad/happy I am. Happy birthday, darling girl and always remember that your mama will always be there to recommend which bathmat to get to match the cabinets. ❤️❤️

  52. Happy Birthday to Hailey, and happy birthday to you, too, Mama Jen, because it’s the day that you brought a wonderful, magical little person into this world.

    Hug her, treasure her, keep on doing what you have been doing ever since that first day: guiding her forward with love and clear expectations and humor and happiness, encouraging her to be her own unique self and to let her light and her strength shine.

    My autoimmune horror means that I never had a chance to have a child. It has not been easy to live with that loss, but the kids who I had the joy and honor of teaching were so dear to me, and I have been given the gift late in life of two wonderful nephews. Seeing their parents cherish them and raise them to be such honorable, creative, courageous kids has been a remarkable thing.

    You are doing the same incredible thing every day.

    My dearest friend said that she had an epiphany one day shortly before her 18 year old graduated from high school. Here was her “A Ha!” moment. She thought: If, by the time they’re teens, they have the have begun to develop the confidence, the decency and compassion for themselves and for others, and the patience and perseverance all needed to face new challenges, make but then thoughtfully correct mistakes, and begin making more decisions without needing much input from Mom or Dad, then the parents have done a really, truly good job. But if, as that same kiddo is growing busier and more social with peer activities and more independent as they get older, kiddo still wants and chooses to spend (and clearly enjoys spending) quality time with a parent, then the parent has done a remarkable job! Sounds like your shared story time is looking at that last part of my friend’s epiphany, and nodding a big “Yep – there you go! That’s what I’m talking about!”

    Hugs, many happy returns, and many joys to you both!

  53. Wait until you blink and she’s 30+ and a mom (maybe, but that’s my experience) and an amazing person and you wonder how you managed to give this phenomenal person to the world. <3 (Mom of four, Nana to 8+ 1 on the way. )

  54. Ohhh… Jenny, I remember these feelings, too.

    I remember feeling, Knowing, that my beautiful daughter and beautiful son, are far and away, The Best (?!?) things, the best “productions” of all my life.

    I’ve delighted in so many tiny and splendid moments of being Their Mom, that they will never be aware of, ever, even as growing into parents, themselves, they will not ever recognize the love-beyond-knowing, that my heart has given, surrounded them with, give to them, even now … that they are, and nearly are, parents, themselves…

    I share my feelings with you, uniquely wonderful Jenny, as beautiful Hailey glides through this wonderful milestone, on Sunday. You are, and Victor are, So healthily, so enriching (Not monitarily…) Hailey’s view of the gifts in each and every day, approaching what-ever-comes-next, with adventure And Optimism, and (your) senses of wonder and amazement, delight and magic, AND knowing life is full of Unfairness, and disappointments, frustration and crap we don’t deserve…

    You are absolutely Outstanding Parents. Wonderfully outstanding. I’m so deeply, greatly happy for Hailey.
    And You!

    You may, Might, have to persevere, in a year or (gulp! Hope not!) of, “Who-Are-You?!?”, 👽 Alien who-has-inhabited-my-Daughter’s-body???, in the next few years …

    It sounds impossible, utterly impossible, with the Terrific Beautiful daughter that you have, and the Love ❤️ and Delight that you have always given, shared, and known, between the 3 of You.

    So it was with my sweet daughter, Sarah. I do dearly hope you all will Not go through a “phase” like this. Ever.

    Ours lasted just under a terrifying and tumultuous 2 years. Finally, The Alien disappeared, and the beautiful daughter she always was, returned to us. It was God-Awful, impossible to conceive of or anticipate, but horribly true. All that time, the reality that my sweet daughter was GONE, was heartbreaking. Even scary.

    Hormones. And the deep imperative to behaviorly, break free of our/her parents. Rationality gives Zero comfort, while enduring the Loss of the daughter you’ve known and adored, all her life. While the Alien takes over. IF the Alien comes, at all. I dearly, lovingly hope not, for both of you. All three of you.

    IF, and it is not certain that it may, only IF this happens, know that it WILL Pass, with time. Be brave and patient and even more Brave. THIS “Alien-encounter” Will Pass. I PROMISE!

    IN ALL THE WAYS YOU DELIGHT AND ADORE IN, AND With HAILEY, I wish that you will increase these, many times over, for all of you!

    You ARE a wonderful Mother, Jenny! Thank You for blessing Hailey and Victor with the You, you are!!!
    Warmest wishes,
    Leslie Zvolanek. (married to a wonderfully quirky Czech, in Downers Grove, IL)

  55. Those. Wavy. Curls.!!! What a gorgeous, gorgeous young lady you have on your hands there! I agree with some of the above comments….definitely a dead-ringer for a 1940’s actress!!

  56. Happy Birthday to your beautiful daughter. This sounds so trite, but time goes by in the blink on an eye. You don’t really believe it until it happens to you. My baby girl is now 22 and I’ve got to admit I love being her friend and mother at this age, but I miss having that perfect baby around as well.

  57. We have the same birthday…clearly making her an exceptional individual. In contrast to most parents, when my daughter became a teenager it didn’t really change our close relationship. I guess I can count myself lucky.

  58. Does she have any idea how great her hair is? I bet she hates it, because, well, she’s now a teenager. But it’s gorgeous. Tell her I said so. She’ll care…deeply…because she has no idea who I am…Oh well. Happy belated birthday, Hailey!

  59. HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAILEY! And Happy Shopping day for you, Madame Bloggess! No I do not assume you forgot to buy her presents, but she is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS and I do not presume to know if you have a good shotgun in the house as well as a lot of ammo cuz you’re gonna need it! Boys will be like gnats swarming her and getting all caught in her hair which, while flattering at first, will become annoying even to her. Oh Mon Dieu, Elle est si adorable! She truly is a very beautiful, classily lovely young lady. And that’s really what I thought looking at her pictures…she is..um.. timeless, elegant! She honestly reminds me of some of the beautiful young women in the old old just got color movies. Yep lots and lots of ammo, no dating till she graduated high school and DEFINITELY apply RIGHT NOW to be a prom chaperone! 😘😘

  60. As someone who can hardly believe her baby girl is about to turn five, this brought a tear to my eye. Slow down, time!

  61. Congratulations, parents, and best wishes to Hailey on her birthday and every day. I love when my adult “child” remembers as touching a moment as you had with your Hailey. Enjoy it all! ✌️✌️❤️

  62. Oh my goodness…she is stunning! Love, love, LOVE the beauty that radiates from her beautiful eyes and smile!

  63. What a lovely moment in time. I’m a few years ahead of you, my daughter will graduate high school this year, uff-da! My mind is on her constantly these days, in part because she’s asked me to blog about what it’s like to have a daughter with depression and anxiety, prone to panic attacks and days of not being able to get out of bed. I’ve been writing my own story with ferocity lately, and in response, she’s asked me to put voice to her story and include it within mine. This presents itself to me as nothing short of a very special honor and incredibly hard all at once. Has Hailey or Victor ever asked you to write their story? If so, or even ifn’t so, what would your reaction be? Would it be easy or hard? Doable or not so much?

  64. I cried a little bit reading this (as I am sure every other mother did too). It goes way to fast! It seems you have a special bond with your daughter, instead of growing apart hopefully you grow closer!

  65. Am I the only person who sees Hailey’s uncanny resemblance to the young Marilyn Monroe?! Hailey is stunning & has that classic old Hollywood je ne sais quoi. Shine on, Hailey! <3

  66. Happy birthday. She is beautiful and smart as well. Tell her Kay said hi. Can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years since I saw you both. Thank you for the joy you give us all Jenny!

  67. Hey, just because Hailey’s a teenager doesn’t mean you have to stop reading to her. My oldest just moved a quarter of the way around the world to go to college, and I still read to her. (Ok, so I record myself reading to my other two kids and send her the files, but you get the idea.) The way I see it, Hailey’s the luckiest teenager alive! She gets personal book readings from one of my favorite authors.

    Happy birthday, Hailey! (And happy parental teenagership, Jenny and Victor!)

  68. And now I cried a little. It goes so fast. I broke down and cried in the children’s section of a Barnes & Noble once when it hit me that I the days of reading to my daughter were really over. She’s about to turn 28 and it still makes me sad.

  69. Happy Belated Birthday to Hailey! Mine’s 27 and married, but will also always be my sweet little girl.

    Speaking of birthdays makes me think about presents. This one isn’t for Hailey (sorry), but for one of your racoons. How can one resist an item called: Rocket Raccoon Backpack Buddy it’s here and currently on sale! http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/htvo/ It says “Plush Rocket backpack fits kids and many adults” and so I figure this would fit your racoon.

  70. She is a beautiful young lady. Happy Birthday, Hailey!! My girls are all over 40 now–I’m not telling how far over!–and I still think of them as little girls. They never even asked for permission to go and grow up, either. Very sad. But they and their families are wonderful. And I love them soooooooo much!!

  71. She is beautiful and looks just like you! My baby girl is 26 now, and my boy is 23. Where does the time go? sigh

  72. She’s so pretty and smart, just like her Mom! I really like your story about reading bedtime stories. I miss that too. Hugs from the mom of another teenager.

  73. Happy Birthday, Hailey. And now I just cried a little. 🙂 My boys are a year older so I feel your nostalgia for tucking in and story time.

  74. She is lovely and confident because of you. It does hurt. I cried every year at New school pictures because it somehow was more real how they had grown each year. Proud and painful. That’s the best I can describe it. But she is all she is because of the great job you did. Mine have now become (nominal) adults only college. It’s a proud and painful thing. Like childbirth. You wouldn’t have it at other way though.

  75. I’ve been following your blog since the birth of my first child. He turned 8 in June and now has two siblings (2 and 5 months). It still seems odd to me, though, that your daughter isn’t still a young child and is now a teenager. Happy birthday Hailey.

  76. My 12 year old son gave me a hug a few days ago and says “You better take these while you can cause soon I’m gonna be a teenager and then I’m gonna be a dick, so, yeah, I’m still sweet and adorable now!” Yes, dear, yes you are. Sigh.

  77. Tape those lids open ..no blinking or she will be driving soon.. Happy birthday teen hailey

  78. My eyes are leaking. Happy birthday! You and your mom are awesome. (And fine, Victor too.) (And Beyonce, obviously.)

  79. See, you shouldn’t have blinked. I would have thought you learned that from Doctor Who a long time ago.

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