I used an app to countdown to Amelia’s birthday this year. In less than 24 hours my daughter will be 21 years old. Truly legal and grown up in the eyes of the laws of the state of New York….but not in mine.
She will forever be a kid, toting a binky, hair in pigtails and being Amelia.
This birthday is significant in that it is the gateway to adult life…and adult life is moving ahead at 100 mph. Today I booked the hotel for her college graduation next May. I bought a bottle Prosecco to ring in this significant birthday and spent the afternoon hanging out and shopping with her. We never lack for enjoyable conversation, a laugh at our own expense or driving Chip’s S4 a little too fast. I had always hoped that I would one day be here like this with her. Children need a parent, not a friend, when they are young but at this age, I think they need more friend than parent. I try to give objective advice however, when it comes to her selection of dates, I have been more parent than not and more critical than Chip, ironically.
As you may recall from a past post, The Boyfriend’s First Visit, her old boyfriend, who I referred to as “Skates” spent some time here with us and was a good sport about being picked on and threatened with a full-blown background check and hair sample drug test. I refer to the new guy as “Exit” as in, take the next exit. He is coming tonight to spend the weekend for Amelia’s birthday. Let’s see how he does. Bonus: he is part Italian.
(I am watching you Exit!)
So, this afternoon, I sat with Izzy on my lap in the stillness of the family room and reflected over these past 21 years. The high school and AAU basketball games all throughout New England. The many trips to the ER with broken bones and a lacerated spleen. An appendectomy, multiple MRI scans and abundant casts and crutches. Weeks at Skaneateles lake sitting in the sun, taking the boat into the Village for Doug’s Fish Fry, Riddler’s for penny candy and the Bakery for breakfast.
Then came learning to drive, going to college, living through a car accident, all these events and experiences culminating into becoming a beautiful and strong woman. Sometimes I want to go back, but then she wouldn’t be who she is now.
The roles have morphed and changed a bit:
- I frequently hear, “MOTHER!” when she finds me watching Fifty Shades Part 3, or when I call her boyfriend “Exit.” (What’s his name again?)
- She fixes my hair when its messy and laughs when I say I don’t care.
- When I try to flat iron her hair she’s afraid I’d burn her, not unfounded by the way.
- She makes better Mac ‘n Cheese than I do.
- I ask her to help me with my cell phone when I can’t figure something out and she updates me on lingo that I cannot understand or that Jack uses and I’m afraid to ask. I have been banned from looking things up in the Urban Dictionary.
This morning we had family pictures taken outside at a local park. The photographer is my x-sister-in-law and extremely talented in her own rite. What she does with a camera is genius. As she focused her lens on Amelia and Jack, I too focused on my two children arm in arm, side by side all grown up and welled up a bit as Chip and I become empty-nesters. Life for them has just begun and I cannot wait to see each chapter unfold.
Happy birthday Amelia. I cannot wait to witness and be a part of who you become as you strive for whatever you wish to be. I love you ‘oob.’