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Happy Sweet 16 Casey! The 5 Things I Learn Daily From My Baby Girl…


Today is my daughter’s 16th birthday, can you believe it?  I can’t!  How is it that 16 years could come and go in the blink of an eye? How is it that just yesterday (or so it seemed) I was the size of a small, helium-filled blimp and now my daughter and I share shoes and hair secrets? I remember when Casey was born (we did not know the sex of the baby), my mother said, “Wow, a girl.. she’s like having a living, breathing baby doll.” And she was right.

When I held Casey for the first time, all those years ago, I thought, “Now what?” Truth be told, I was worried about having a girl because of the rocky teen years I had with my own folks. But here I was now, with the most precious baby girl with big eyes and perfect lips. I couldn’t mess it up now.

Well, I’m pleased to say, so far so good. Casey is an amazing child, well on her way to becoming an even more amazing woman. Though beautiful on the outside, it pales in comparison to what emanates from within. So here are the 5 things I learn from this kid every single day.

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I’m so fortunate to have two kids who truly care for one another and at least one who is not afraid to show it. Casey’s always been demonstrative in her affection, much to the chagrin of her brother.  I think he secretly doesn’t mind and he knows she’ll always be there for him.



As a former teenage girl, I know how drama-filled the days can be so  I’ll never forget the day one of her counselors told me that Casey was “the peacemaker” among her group of friends. But I already knew that. Casey was born an “old soul”,  always wise and mature beyond her years. She doesn’t have time for teen drama (Thank GOD!). 


Beautiful, mature and responsible, a true winning combination! Casey is not the kind of kid you need to ride herd on (well, okay sometimes.. that darn room) and has always been something of a self-policer. Now, as she gets older, I’m seeing that responsibility extend into genuine concern and caring for those around her. She’s always on me to take care of myself and when I do get sick, she’s the one I can count on for meals and medicine.


I think this is would be the biggest thing I’ve learned from her this year. As many of you know, I’ve been through quite a bit over the last several years and one of my main concerns is that my children would be adversely affected. One day, Casey and I were on a walk and I confessed that fear to her. She told me something that made me realize what a special kid she was. She told me, “Mom, we’re not being hobbled by this experience; we’re learning from it.” Wow. Thanks…



A few weeks ago while I was in LA taping The Doctors, Casey suffered a bit of a disappointment. She was heartbroken and I tried to make it better (from 3,000 miles away). It was tough but the more spoke about it, the better she felt. Together we came up with a plan for her going forward and by the time I landed, she has bounced back to her old self. She shows me daily how to be resilient and why that matters.

Whoever said Sweet 16, must have had my darling daughter in mind.



More from GEM:

Raisin’ In Minnesota: A Dream Realized 

On Aisle 9: The Three Things My Special Needs Son Can Teach You About Life 

 Ask Rene: Should I Take Any Old Job?





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  1. Debbie Mitchell

    September 2, 2012 at 8:11 am

    A beautiful tribute to a beautiful girl.
    Pay attention people, we can all learn a little something from this young lady.
    Happy Sweet 16 Casey!

  2. ZJCai

    September 2, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Happy Sweet 16 to your daughter Casey! And congrats to you on raising her so well, so strong so beautifully. You willingness to admit that you can actually learn from your child also does wonders for her self esteem as well as reveal the depth of your affection for your child.

    To many parents, there is nothing that a child can teach them because ‘they (the parent) knows it all, had seen it all and have been there done that’. You show the contrary to that sort of thinking and your insightful confident child is the result. This is admirable.

    I am the mother of a nine-month old baby girl and i hope so much that she will make me proud through her actions (well she does already, but I mean once she gets to that stage where she can be more independent of her dad and me).

  3. Ted Rubin

    September 2, 2012 at 10:24 am

    We all talk a lot about what we can do for our kids, but sometimes we have to take a step back and see what we can learn from them. Thanks for sharing Rene.

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