Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Where does time go? I know it's a cliche, but until you start looking at your child's entire life in pictures, and trying to put them in chronological order, you just don't realize how damned fast the whole thing went.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Danielle. She was an only child. Her parents and grandparents called her Dani. Life was good. Christmas at age 1 1/'s all about her. And a fuchsia-colored stuffed dinosaur

When Dani was 2 1/2, along came a little sister, Shannon. At the time, it was fun. Dani was a good big sister. She loved her new baby. If she only knew...

Mom started early with the brainwashing. Once a Sun Devil, always a Sun Devil. Start 'em young, she said. Though no one knew it at the time, in another six years or so there would be another sister, who would bear a striking resemblance to this little girl.

Age four, go to Disneyland. Meet Cinderella. Check.

Preschool is stories and games and butterfly wings. She tells her teacher she wants to be called Danielle, not Dani. This would last several years, although she continued to be Dani to family members.

The first day of kindergarten. Time is already slipping away, and no one even notices.

Along the way, there was a lot of time spent at Mimi's house. An abundance of Christmas cookies, and other projects were created. Mimi was always good with the crafts.

In 1999, Danielle was seven. We got our dog Bo. The girls had always wanted a dog.

She wasn't always the most serious child.

At age 10, she became a big sister again. No one quite saw that one coming. This may have been just a year or so after her mother told her that there would be no more babies. The universe had other plans.

Mimi takes her to church on Sundays. She likes going places with her grandparents.

We spent several Independence Days up north in Payson. It's cooler up there, and we liked the small-town atmosphere. Games and fireworks were always on the agenda.

She lets mom take a picture on the first day of sixth grade. Things are about to change drastically, but no one knew it yet. Hormonal-wise, I mean.

She and Kylie were always, and still are to this day, very close.

She started playing softball at age eight. Here she was an honorary bat girl for the ASU women's softball team.

She started pitching around age ten or so.

She also spent a few summers as a junior lifeguard at the city pool. She thought she was so cool up on that chair. Mom couldn't resist taking the picture.

She joined choir in 7th grade. They had a formal concert one night...

The same night she had a softball game. It was close, but we made it to both. She changed in the car. She can go from formal to tomboy in 60 seconds flat.

Junior high, baby. Gotta act the part...gotta be cool.

A week before high school starts, she meets him at band practices. She is twirling flags on the colorguard, he is a trumpet player. The first boyfriend. This lasts nearly two years.

The childhood brainwashing has worked...she's a Sun Devil girl through and through. This is a night where mom and dad had taken her to an ASU football game. With this t-shirt, sunglasses and a small backpack on, she is mistaken for a college freshman by a young man. Mom is properly horrified.

Pitching for the freshman team.

A pixie and a witch on Halloween, 2007.

Family vacation in San Diego is an opportunity to try boogie-boarding. Danni decides she is a beach girl at heart. In case you're wondering where the second "n" in Danni came from...she was on a softball team once with another Dani, so my Dani became Danni. And it just stuck.

There is a special relationship between these two. I know they will be close their whole lives.

In high school, Danni started taking dance. She took beginning dance for the P.E. credit. Then she fell in love with it. She took intermediate, then advanced dance. She took the improv dance class. At the end of her sophomore year, she tried out for the company class, Modazz, and was selected. I love to watch my girl dance.

She loves dance so much, she will continue into college. She is so beautiful when she is dancing. I might be a bit biased though.

There have been many, many football games and competitions with the band/colorguard in the past three years. Steve and I have been to almost every game. I love watching her perform, and she loves doing it.

The Fiesta Bowl National Band Championships, January 2009.

The girls switched from spinning flags and rifles, to dancing with bouquets of flowers. They were fantastic at the Fiesta Bowl competition. I will never get tired of watching her perform. There is nothing that matches the pride of watching your child doing something that they love, and that they do so well.

This year, her junior year, she is the starting first baseman on the varsity softball team.

As always, to me, she is beautiful whether she is dancing, sliding into home covered with dirt, or dressed up for homecoming, or just hanging with her boyfriend or a sister.

An entire life in a blog post. You have a child, and you think they will be a child forever. But they grow up. They grow up so very quickly. Can someone please tell me how the hell this happened?

Happy birthday, Baby. Your dad and I love you so much. You make me so proud to be your mom every day of your life. Thank you for being you.


Jen E @ mommablogsalot said...

Wow it really does fly by fast - happy birthday to your not-so-little anymore girl! :)

Jen said...

Great post Shell. I know that you have been thinking about this for awhile now. That last picture is stunning of Danni.

I can't believe how much she and Ky look alike.

I want to see Danni dance so let me know when the next performance is.

Happy Birthday Danni!!!

Shelley said...

Aww, happy birthday to a lovely young woman! Your post made me choke up!

Dawn in Austin said...

Happy Birthday Danni.

When you find out where the time goes, pleae let me know. My first born is 25 now. I think I must have been asleep for the last 10 years, cuz I sure didn't see it coming!

Fannie said...

So pretty! I guess we're travelling a similar path these days.

Mary~Momathon said...

Happy Birthday, Danni!

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Happy Birthday--and no, you're not biased, she's a gorgeous girl!

onthegomom said...

Happy Birthday Danni! What a beautiful post for such a beautiful young lady.