Shakespeare & Sweet Sixteens

8 May

My daughter, Delaney, has recently developed a love for Shakespeare.

As a high school sophomore, she has read “Romeo and Juliet” and “Julius Caesar” this year (and loved them both). She has watched  “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “Shakespeare in Love” many times over. I’ve even caught her fascinated by a program on The History Channel about the Globe Theatre.

This newfound fascination takes me back to the Summer of my 17th year, when I spent countless hours by the swimming pool reading anything and everything F. Scott Fitzgerald ever wrote. (And soon afterwards, reading every word penned by Erich Maria Remarque.)

My father tells me that a similar thing happened to him when he was a teenager. He decided it was his duty to read every book written by James Fennimore Cooper.

Perhaps it’s something in our blood. (My family is, after all, one of readers and writers and educators and thinkers.)

Perhaps it’s something about a certain age…an age when you discover that there are things bigger than yourself. You get past the age of self-indulgence and cockiness to discover that other people have something important to say.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Delaney loves Taylor Swift and “America’s Next Top Model” as much as the next teenage girl.

But, it does this Momma’s heart proud to see her learn to appreciate the stories…the words…the poetry.

And now, as her sixteenth birthday approaches, Delaney has come up with a theme for her celebration that makes me oh-so-proud. She wants to have a Shakespearean/Elizabethan/Romeo and Juliet-inspired Sweet 16.

This will be no MTV-inspired birthday celebration with stretch limos, celebrity guests, and boom-boom-boom disc jockeys, but it will be lavish in its own right.

There will be (if Delaney gets her way) a multi-tiered cake of red and gold, teenage friends dressed in masquerade masks, displays of Shakespeare quotes, an outdoor screening of “Romeo and Juliet.” It will be, I hazard to guess, the only party of its kind this lazy town has seen.

When Delaney blows out her candles, it will herald the start of a new chapter in her life. It will signify her movement a few steps further into her own independence..and further away from me.

But, in addition to the parental angst I will no doubt feel, I will feel pride that my daughter is becoming a young adult who is headed in the right direction.

She, after all, is appreciating The Bard a tad ahead of schedule.


2 Responses to “Shakespeare & Sweet Sixteens”

  1. Joanne May 9, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    I love the essay. What a party she is going to have! I am so proud of Delaney. She is so multi-talented. A math-wiz, she loves music and literature. At 17, I think I was reading Dickens. I do remember your Fitzgerald days.

  2. Cheryl May 9, 2012 at 3:42 am #

    I sure did love Fitzgerald back in the day! (In fact, I really need to re-read The Great Gatsby.)

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