"Dream teen"? Not anymore — columnist’s daughter now an adult
by Joe Kirby
September 15, 2013 12:00 AM | 1844 views | 1 1 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lucy Kirby on the eve of 18 at the wheel of her cousin’s cabin-cruiser in Charleston Harbor earlier this summer. <br> Staff/Joe Kirby
Lucy Kirby on the eve of 18 at the wheel of her cousin’s cabin-cruiser in Charleston Harbor earlier this summer.
Staff/Joe Kirby
I think the world can be divided into two groups: people who like to go to fairs and carnivals and those who don’t.

You can include my daughter Lucy in the latter category. She doesn’t like roller coasters, was scared of pony rides and has been to Six Flags exactly once.

Even back in the day, when I would take her to the North Georgia State Fair at Jim Miller Park each September when she was in her preschool years, she only liked two attractions. The first was the little pool at which for a few tickets you could pluck a rubber ducky out of the water and see if it had a lucky marking on its underside, thereby entitling you to a prize.

Coming in a strong second in appealing to her curiosity was a sign advertising “The World’s Largest Pig.”

My efforts to steer her to a ride or food booth or even back to the lucky ducks were to no avail.

“I wanna see the big pig!” she decreed.

So that’s what we did. We saw the big pig.

And for once, carnival ballyhoo was equal to the reality. It was A Really Big Pig, 2,000 pounds’ worth, about the size of a grand piano or several mattresses stacked atop each other. It’s a good thing pigs don’t worry about their cholesterol counts.

But not only was this porker no piker, it was also really lazy. All it did was lay there in his booth while we Fairgoers got our dollar’s worth staring at him. (Or her. I was afraid to look.)

Twelve years later, Lucy has lost all interest in pigs, except for those that come along in the form of bacon.

She also likes her cats, her cello and her new car — but probably not in that order.

She’s one of Cobb County’s newest 18-year-olds, and loving every minute of it.

She’s a senior at Harrison High looking forward to going off to college next fall, although she’s not sure where.

She has plenty of accomplishments for her Dad to brag on. She’s really pushed herself at school and it shows. There’s only one grade she’s ever received on a report card so far in her school career (knock on wood): an A. And she’s carried a heavy academic load, with eight college-level/AP courses so far, like calculus, micro-economics and music theory. Unlike her dad, she’s equally comfortable with words and numbers, having earned a nearly perfect score (a 740) on the math portion of the SAT to go with her 4.42 Grade Point Average.

She’s been playing the piano for 12 years and the cello for seven. Thanks to spring trips with the Harrison Orchestra, she’s been able to play onstage at Carnegie Hall in NYC and the Royal Academy of Music in London. Pretty heady stuff from her Dad’s perspective, but she takes it all in stride.

She’s not a Boomer, not a Gen-Xer or a Millenial. She’s part of the Harry Potter Generation, although her long obsession with that series has finally taken a back seat to more adult fare like “Downton Abbey” and “Dr. Who.” (She’s dubbed her new car “the Tardis” after the time-travel machine in the latter show.)

She has made great material for my columns through the years, which based on feedback from readers, seem to be some of my most popular ones. I’ll admit those columns got more challenging to write as she got older and no longer was doing or saying something too cute for words every two minutes.

What surprises me is how much she looks forward to these columns. I expected that by her teens she’d find them embarrassing and ask me to stop. But happily that hasn’t been the case — so I plan to keep them coming.

I knew when I held her for the first time on the long-ago September night when she was born that we would have a relationship unlike any other I’d ever had, and I was right. She’s been everything a parent could want in a daughter and then some, a real “dream teen.” Now she’s a real adult — and her Mom and I are so proud of her we could pop.

Happy Birthday, Lucy!

Joe Kirby is Editorial Page Editor of the Marietta Daily Journal and author of four books on local history.
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JoEllen Smith
September 15, 2013
Joe, what a lovely, lovely article. I love reading stories about happy families. Your daughter seems wonderful and your love for her is inspirational. I'm so glad you have a great relationship and hope it continues. Best of luck to her!
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