"A lot of people say your eyes show everything, [but] her smile showed a lot," Jeanette Lyte said of her daughter, A'Shaya Na'Jarae Marie Miller, her 15-year-old "punkin." She would have celebrated her Sweet 16 on Monday, a special birthday she anticipated but was never able to plan completely.
A'Shaya, of Hammond, Ind., designed her own clothes and wasn't afraid to set trends using pink and blue, which were her favorite colors. She loved the colors so much that she still slept with a large pink Care Bear that her mother gave her a few years ago. She enjoyed creating her own nail art and hair bows, and her greatest wish was to become a fashion designer. But if that dream wasn't possible, she wanted to become a mental health worker, a decision influenced by her mother's nursing career.
The teenager hoped to join the track and volleyball teams this year at Thornton Township High School in nearby Harvey, Ill., where she was a sophomore. She was a shy, but strong-minded individual. She knew when to defend herself and often teased and tormented her two younger sisters.
"It was Shay-Shay's way or no way," her mother told msnbc, referring to her daughter's other nickname.
A'Shaya constantly shared her thoughts and activities on Twitter, and spent her free time with her cousins and boyfriend of one year. Instead of going out to eat at a restaurant or to the movie theater, the couple usually remained at her home and watched movies together. "They were like glue, her and her boyfriend," Lyte said.
A'Shaya was shot and killed by bullets fired through the kitchen window during a visit to her aunt's house on March 17 in Calumet City, Ill. Her cousin was wounded during the incident. Police do not believe A'Shaya was the target of the shooting.