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Divine Caroline (Mine!)

I love the name of this site. Divine Caroline—it just sings! Of course, I may be partial since I have my very own Divine Caroline living in my house along with her sisters, the Divine Chloe and Divine Zoe! My Caroline is nine years old, has straight brown hair that flips happily in her dark brown eyes, likes a boy named Jordan (unrequited fourth-grade love), and is completely, totally, absolutely in love with her Friday after-school dance class.

My Caroline was one of those late-in-life, midlife surprise babies. I found out I was pregnant with her just a few months before my twentieth-year high school reunion. I went to the reunion with a cute little beginning baby bump sweetly hiding beneath my long, snappy black gown. Most of my classmates had kids graduating from high school, and more than a few of them were openly scornful of my pregnancy. “You’re starting again with diapers?!” I heard more than once. Openly, I shrugged and acted blasé. Inwardly, I was filled with a deliriously smug glee. I loved being pregnant again! I felt young, fertile, and very Mother Earth-ish.

Having Caroline the last nine years of my life has been the greatest ride! Joined by her cute older sisters, the Lovely Zoe and Charming Chloe, Caroline is a pro at pushing my buttons ... every single last one of them ... and also at working her own particular magic on her Menopausal Mama’s emotional heart.

Caroline is logical, rational, and sensible. She keeps our household sane. She is smart as a whip, cute as a button, and she acts more mature than the whole lot of us. So it has come as a bit of a surprise to see her latest personality changes in action.

She’s fallen in love. Head-over-heels, no-holds-barred, you-better-believe-it kind of love. The object of her affection is fellow fourth grader, Jordan H. Jordan of the curly black hair and bright green eyes. Jordan of the bike-riding-after-school-club. Jordan, who can set Caro’s heart atwitter just by the simple speaking of her name. I have to admit, he is a cutie patootie, and I am one hundred percent in favor of her choice. It’s just funny, watching our normally quiet, staid, sensible girl morph into this Strange Girl she has become.

When she’s talking about Jordan, her brown eyes soften and her lips curve into a shy smile. When she’s talking about Jordan, she giggles. She twirls on her tippy toes, talking about him, and she closes her eyes, dreaming of the way he said, “Hi, Caroline” in the lunch line. She squeezes my arm, hard, reminding me not to forget to go by his house this weekend. “I’ll hide in the back seat,” she explains the plan, “while you go up and ring the doorbell. When his mom comes to the door, ask if Jordan can go with us to the zoo.” I ask her why she doesn’t go with me to ring the doorbell. “He might want to come more if he sees you with me,” I offer. She will have nothing to do with that ideal. “Mom, you do NOT get the plan at all! He has to think I don’t CARE if he comes or not.”

I turn away to hide a smile. I love this side of my normally reserved daughter. I like the giggles, the total little girl-ness she’s showing, finally. And I make secret plans of my own. Tomorrow, after the zoo, I’m taking Caroline shopping. Now, finally, she just might let me pick her out a dress.

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