Happy birthday, sweet girl.

14 years ago today I made a person, like some kinda wizard or something.   Victor says it’s not really “magic” as much as “science” and also is accusing me of dumbing down his part in this, as “millions of my replicants died in her creation”.  Perhaps we’re both overreacting but it’s hard not to because today Hailey is 14 and I’m so grateful that she’s in our life (even though sometimes I want to strangle her a little bit).

Hailey doesn’t have a ton of friends but she has two who have been her closest allies since she was little.  She’s lucky.  You’re lucky if you even have one great friend at that age.  Every year since she was 8 I’ve taken the three of them to Build-a-Bear for her birthday. I assumed they’d be too old for our tradition. They weren’t. *sniff*. Or at least they pretended they weren’t for me.

Happy birthday, Hailey.

You are our sunshine.

137 thoughts on “Happy birthday, sweet girl.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Sooo sweet! My kids are now 30 and 32 and married! Whoa! I have been laid off as a mom but hold tight to the memories of when she is young

  2.         I always knew that kid was awesome! We share the same birthday 😂 Happy Birthday Hailey!     

    (Happy birthday! ~ Jenny)

  3. Happy Birthday, Hailey! These photos are lovely. Nothing better than dear friends, people who love you for you.

  4. Happy Birthday, Hailey! Two of my best friends to this day are from when I was 14 and we’re all 40. It can happen. It takes some effort through the college years but as Polonius – via Shakespeare said “Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.” Polonius says a bunch of stuff before and after that, too, but I’ll just keep that handy for other things your mom may post about you in the future. 🙂

  5. If I knew your number, I’d sing you the birthday medley. But I don’t, which is probably good considering when I sing I sound like Ethel Merman. (look her up.). Happy Birthday!

  6. Teenagers will do that. I have a 14 year old myself.
    Um, this is the sweetest tradition ever! You win Mom of the Year already!
    And above all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAILEY!!

  7. Happy birthday Hailey! Enjoy your build a bear. And that cake. That thing looks crazy delicious.

  8. Occasional homicidal thoughts are par for the course with teenagers– they lull you in as sweet little babies so that you’re too attached to them to kill them when they’re older! But it’s ok, they’ll grow out of that, too. She’s an awesome young lady, on her way to becoming an awesome adult. Congrats to you and Victor for making such a spectacular person! And, of course, Happy Birthday to Hailey!

  9. Ah! It’s super hard isn’t it? My little ballerina turned 12 last Tuesday. She’s been getting older so fast. Only last year she still wanted me to come to her classes and rehearsals. Now she’s up on pointe and wants to take Zoo trips without any adults. I don’t know how to handle it, except to say things like, “The zoo is 2 hours away. I’m not driving you and your friends down to just drop you off and not see the fuzzy critters myself.” She did have an amazing thought though. She told me that birthdays should be spent celebrating those who gave birth (gotta love sex ed and those birth videos) and did all the hard work. Sometimes shes si grown up! Happy birthday to Hailey. And happy giving birthday to you!

  10. Happy Birthday! I’m 56 and I have about 500 bears–mostly Boyds Bears! You have wonderful taste in birthday gifts!!

  11. Happy Birthday, Hailey! I haven’t known you (through your mother’s posts) for that long, but I see that you an amazing person. Dealing with psrents like yours is a trial and a hardship, I know. They’re zany and wacky and it’s two of them against one of you, but one of you is enough to take on your father’s dad jokes and your mother’s need to rescue squirrels, bobcats and turtles. They did a pretty good job with their “Build-A-Person Kit”.

  12. Happy birthday Hailey. Have a great day with your friends as well as with Jenny and Victor and all the dead and living things you have at home.

  13. My mom has had the same bestie since they were 3. I’ve always marveled at the longevity of the same person, not related to you, putting up with your shit for 65 years. The mind boggles. Thankfully my mom gave birth to my bestie. 48 years and counting.

  14. Congrats on completing another lap around the sun! (and I want your friend’s dino w/ the tutu!)

  15. My daughter is 13, very shy, and only has a couple of friends too. But, they are GOOD friends and continually tell her that that’s what really matters. Happy birthday, Hailey!

  16. Happy birthday, Hailey. Happy mommiversary, Jenny! Meh, Victor.

    It strikes me that I used to think you had SO much more experience mommying than I, but now that Hailey is 14 and my twins are 12, it kinda feels like we’re in the same boat.

  17. Happy Birthday, Hailey!!

    While you will meet lots of fascinating people and add even more dear friends to your circle as you grow older, there is nothing quite like a lifelong friend who knows you inside out, knows your life story, has had your back through good and bad times, and can cue up a treasured shared memory or a bout of unstoppable laughter with a single gesture or inside joke phrase.

    Best of all, though, is knowing that those friends love you BECAUSE of all the beautiful uniqueness that makes you you, not despite it. Happy, wonderful birthday to you, and big birthday hugs to you and your friends. Cherish each other every day!

  18. I would rather have one or two best friends than a hundred friend-friends. Like that saying: A friend will bail you out of jail, a best friend would be sitting next to you saying “wow, wasn’t that great!” Happy Birthday Hailey have a great year.

  19. Ohhh, sniff, sniff. Babies do grow up but I look at my nieces and nephews and see them as they were when little. Jenny and Victor, you did a lot to get to have a baby. I’m sure you thought it might never be possible. Then the miracle of Hailey. She will always be your baby–even when she’s like, 80! Enjoy this sweet day and every day of precious Hailey. Family is a gift. Always. And Hailey, as long as you live, your mom and dad live on in you, honey. Now, cake for everybody!!!

  20. OMG Jenny! Make me cry. I love how you share about your family. It’s how I feel about mine. They do their best not to grow up for our sakes, especially at birthdays. Mine is 21 and still humors me.

  21. It looks like Hailey has already learned it’s quality that counts more than quantity in friendship. Happy birthday, y’all!

    It does seem more like magic when you think of Victor’s “millions of replicants” and that the one with Hailey in it won.

  22. She IS lucky. She has three great and true friends, and a mom and dad who love her beyond measure. And you already know how lucky you and Victor are to have her. Lucky, lucky all the way around. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAILEY!

  23. Happy Birthday, Hailey! (We share a birthday but I’m 4x 14 plus a few – oh pish posh on the details). HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

  24. Happy bday, Hailey! Build-A-Bear is a super birthday tradition. I have a stuffed lamb from there.

  25. Happy Birthday to you Hailey! And to my beautiful mother who is 72 years older than you She has a friend that she’s been friends with for around 80 years. Now there is a friendship goal😎

  26. Happy Birthday to you Hailey! And to my beautiful mother who is 72 years older than you She has a friend that she’s been friends with for around 80 years. Now there is a friendship goal😎

  27. Happy Birthday, Hailey!

    And Jenny, you are NEVER too old for stuffed animals. I’m a grown ass 40 year old woman and I still sleep with stuffed animals.

    Or at least I do when my son (who is 14, autistic and also has a love of stuffed animals) doesn’t steal them from me.

  28. Well that brought a wonderful tear to my eye. A couple close friends are all we really need in this life, and of course awesome parents like you and Wictor. Thanks for sharing ~

  29. ~Happy Birthday Hailey!~ My Fellow Libra. I had one true friend during my teens who never laughed at my attempts to learn makeup (lashes-to-eyebrows powder blue eyeshadow, anyone?) knew all the words to our favorite Top 40 songs, commiserated over boyfriends and more. I loved her and was thrilled that she let me and loved me back. You have double the friends and go you. Here’s a horoscope for you that I’ve read for pleasure for eons https://www.freewillastrology.com/horoscopes/libra.html .
    I’ve decided the reasons horoscopes “work” is that all things are true simultaneously and these little words are just part of the larger truth. Still, seems appropriate for a fierce martial arts warrior who can own a theatre’s stage. Keep your eyes on the prize. And that cake!

  30. Such sweetness, to insist upon the tradition. My 20-year-old granddaughter and her mom made the traditional annual visit to the pumpkin patch. It gives me hope!

  31. Happy Birthday ❤️ Hailey!!! Never get too old for traditions! My sons always got rubber dinosaurs in their Christmas Stockings. One year we decided they were too old for that. Huge tragedy, great distress. They were 25 and 34. I Still get reminded every year that a new dinosaur is required for each. Including the younger ones wife.

  32. Happy Birthday Hailey! I was a loner going up and met my bestie in 6th grade. I’m almost 45 and we’re still close friends today! A close friend is more valuable than a hundred acquaintances.

  33. ….. Why did those pictures make me tear up? It’s so wonderful that she’s not ‘too old’ for such a sweet tradition with her friends and her mom. I remember being soooo embarrassed by my mom as a teenager, and now I wish I hadn’t always been so quick to shoo her away (we are now best friends and still live together…). Although I’ve only known about the existence of your awesome family for two years, I did binge the entirety of your archives so I do feel like I’ve ‘watched Hailey grow up’, and she’s become such a beautiful young lady. Happy birthday Hailey!

  34. She might grow out of it, but fortunately, you grow back INTO those sorts of things, so it may be that you’ll skip a year or two, but then suddenly she’ll want to build bears again. (I like to pooh-pooh at those lists that tell me a woman over 40 shouldn’t have plushies. My collection of bears, dogs, cats, and dragons begs to differ.)

  35. Happy birthday, Hailey! You are a beautiful September girl. My birthday was yesterday (so was Bruce Springsteen’s, my number one rocker). I also created a person who is 14 and another who is 16. Two “angelic” daughters who give me more reasons to just be. Have a day you dreamed of!

    P.S. Great Build-a-Bear choices!

  36. It is Magic! You have such a beautiful daughter who lights up your life! She’s such a beautiful blessing! Happy Birthday Hailey! And delivery day to you Bloggess!! 😘

  37. Happy Birthday, Hailey!

    I will admit I am a blog-only fan up to now; I haven’t read the books (I do intend to get to it!). So I don’t know if this has been addressed in the books. But Hailey seems so happy and well-adjusted, it almost (this is going to sound really stupid AND ignorant) makes we wonder if Jenny’s condition can possibly be as bad as she describes it. How can Hailey have come out so well if she was raised in a household where the father travels for business all the time and the mother is usually curled up in bed in the fetal position because her brain is lying to her? (For that matter, how do all the books get written if the author is usually curled up, etc.?) I see two explanations. Jenny (like so many people in her situation) is an absolute hero at carrying on anyway. She’s been a terrific mom (and successful, prolific author) despite WANTING to curl up, etc. because she doesn’t give in and DO it. Other option: Hailey has had to “grow up early” by often being the mom because her mom can’t, and in her particular case it turned out well, taught her empathy and responsibility. Or maybe one of those one day, the other one another day.

    Looking at the adorable Build-A-Bear photos, I can’t help do a little analysis. The blonde friend looks so much smaller in the first three, especially the second and third. She looks like she might be a couple of years younger (or have a medical growth condition). Her being younger seems unlikely for girls who’ve been friends since they were little — two years is so much of a developmental difference at 3 and 5 or 4 and 6 that I wouldn’t expect a friendship to form. But whatever the truth, she’s caught up now! If Hailey and the brunette are 14 and the blonde is 12, she got her growth spurt early. If she had a medical issue, the therapy worked. Either way, they all look the same age now! Amazing to think it’s the same three girls.

  38. Happy Birthday, Hailey. You seem like a very lovely young person based on the stories your mother tells. 🙂 May you never be “too old” for Build-A-Bear and being silly with your awesome friends.

  39. My youngest child turned 5 today. Five seems like such a big-kid age. It’s the age of kindergarten. It’s the age of one whole hand. I have no more babies in the house, and while most of me is thrilled, part of me is devastated. I can’t even think about 14.

  40. Happy Birthday Hailey!!! May you always feel young enough to enjoy “building a bear”!

  41. So lovely. I also have a 5 year old only girl, who is turning out to be every bit as stubborn and eccentric as her parents, thank goodness. I love the choice of teddies… I’m thinking the younger sister was sort of copying the older for a while…love that she’s come out and gone for a tutu dinosaur at last! Wonderful! The older sister seems to be consistent – I’m pretty sure she’ll make a doctor one day! And Hailey…. bride of chucky bear…. Jedi Jiraffe (or Gedi Giraffe? My favourite)…your daughter for sure.

    My boss’ daughter was also obsessed with becoming a Dr. one day. She would sleep in her scrubs instead of PJs. Her mum got a call one day from a hospital uniform store, to verify with the ‘secretary’ that she was a neurosurgeon with a major hospital! The mum was surprised but went along with it… not knowing what was going on….and a lovely, neurosurgeons white labcoat with her daughter’s name embroidered on it turned up the following week…. every time her mum needed a panadol, she’d slip on her labcoat and get the medication for her.

  42. Aw. Happy birthday to Hailey from all of us. Im so glad yall had such a great day.

  43. You are NEVER to old for build-a-bear!! Though that could be my lack of a proper childhood… thanks mom.

    Happy Birthday!

  44. Happy birthday to Hailey! You’re never too old for Build-a-Bear! I kinda wish my boyfriend would take me there for our anniversary this year. That would be sweet.

  45. Looks like the friends might be sisters a couple years apart where the older one is Hailey’s age? My (almost 17yo) daughter’s BFF configuration is this and has been since kindergarten. It’s the best. Happy 14th birthday to Hailey, she seems like an incredible young woman.

  46. She usually looks so mature in the photos you post. It’s super fun to see her looking like a little kid for a moment at Build-a-Bear. I’m going through the same thing with my boy. He looks and acts so mature sometimes and doesn’t just want to be my baby anymore. It’s nice when they’re still a little young for a second.

  47. Having a few amazing friends is so much better than a bunch of average friends. I hope they continue the tradition or start other traditions together and stay BFF’s for a long time!

  48. Happy Birthday, Hailey!

    (And you are a wizard, Jenny – Victor may have donated some raw materials, but you built that!)

  49. Jenny, Are you asking Hailey’s permission about what to post? Dunno how many of her peers read your blog, of course, but some of this might be cringe-y for a teenager? “Not lots of friends” and “Build-a-bear”? If she’s OK with it, AWESOME….

  50. Happy Birthday, Hailey! I still have my core group of 4 friends from junior high…40 years ago!! These are the girlfriends that will go the distance with you, hold them close 🙂

  51. It’s kind of scary how fast time goes by. One minute a sweet baby in your arms, the next kissing you on the top of your head when you wrap your arms around him because he’s 6 foot 1–damn, now I’m getting teary…

  52. wait hailey and i have the same birthday that is so cool!!! turning 19 isn’t nearly as cool as turning 14 but it’s still fun

  53. I love this post. It’s often better to have two best friends than it is to have 20 acquaintances and no close friends.
    My daughter turns 14 later this month and she only has two friends she does things outside of school with also.
    I know a lot of parents who are more obsessed with their children’s social lives than their kids are and it’s sad to me.
    I hope these three stay friends forever. I have three best friends I grew up with; we’ve known each other since we were 10. It’s the best.

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