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Jessica Lamoy of Orange took on more responsibility with her mother's illness.
BY DAN McFARLAND
Birthdays are special days, but today is a particularly special one
The Locust Grove Middle School sixth-grader turns 12 today,
Jessica is the only daughter of Jeff and Kim Lamoy of Lake of the Woods. Her brothers are 18 and 20.
"I had the two boys first," Kim recalled. "I wanted a healthy baby, but I really wanted a little girl, and I got her. She was a good baby."
Jessica lists her favorite pastimes as "hanging out with my best friends, and going to the Lake of the Woods clubhouse." She loves listening to music. Her current musical taste runs to Nicki Minaj, Chris Brown and Ne-Yo, and her favorite colors are "purple, and all the neon colors."
Her parents describe her as independent, kind, caring and sassy. She likes to socialize, makes friends easily and loves to help people, especially her teachers. And sometimes, they say, she can be a little shy.
Older brother Justin can't help adding, with a broad grin: "Don't let her fool you. She's a brat!"
When her parents moved from Spotsylvania County almost eight years ago, Jessica started her school years at the Lake of the Woods co-op preschool and made the honor roll. It's a habit she has continued every year since.
Vicky Gunnett, Jessica's language arts teacher at Locust Grove Middle School, has known her since the age of 5.
"She cares about doing well," Gunnett said, "and is very cautious about treating others properly. Also, she has a lot of common sense."
When she grows up, Jessica might want to become a nurse, like her mother, or possibly a hair stylist. For now, though, college is just too far off to think about.
Jessica has also learned to take on responsibility in response to a family medical crisis.
"I have been ill for the last three years," Kim explained. "The summer before last, she was a big help to me. I'm a nurse, and she helped nurse her mother.
"She's been very strong and supportive. And very wanting to know what is going on, not to be left in the dark.
"It took me awhile to get her to go to spend the night with a friend and do stuff, because she wanted to be at home and make sure Mom was OK. I finally had to tell her, 'You can't stop living because Mom is sick.'"
Shannon Kreiter, cheerleading coach at Locust Grove Middle School, who has known Jessica for years, describes her as dedicated and "a bright spot on our team."
"She has grown into a lovely young lady," Kreiter said.
Jessica's plans for her big day? She'd like to have two or three friends over to spend the night, then a trip to Potomac Mills the next day.
And, despite the fuss people make over the numerically unusual occasion, she doesn't see the day as a big deal.
"Turning 12 doesn't really matter to me," she said. "I just want to be 16, so I can get my driver's license."