Our daughter just turned 21 a bit ago. Seems like yesterday, but so does the day she was born….
She wanted a party.
Unlike my birthdays as a kid, we have always strived to make our kids’ birthdays noteworthy. Not spectacular, but noteworthy. It is an effort just to let them know that their birthdays made a spectacular and tsunami like change in our lives and we are glad of it and most grateful for it.
Some of that included buying into the “birthday factory” phenomena. It ranges from two gals gathering old bridesmaid dresses and accesorizing, culminating in a fashion show and tea party, to parents on steroids renting Disneyland. (Not us!) Clearly there are many perspectives in what a birthday party should be. Universally, I have found that dads favor Chucky Cheese. They serve beer…which applied orally seems to take the edge of handling (or “helping” to handle) double digit attendees of the under ten demographic with a droid bear singing Paul McCartney to a room full of over sugared and hyper stimulated party mates.
Maybe it is a sign that only a few of the party factories are still around…
One question is etched on my brain from that era. “Mommy, is it true that Paul McCartney was in a band before “Wings”?
But with this milestone, my daughter wanted to organize everything herself. Guest list, menu, everything.
But our baby was becoming legal. She, of course, wanted to be able to serve beer.
In this we were adamant as there would be some under aged kids present and driving home was involved. No way, Jose. Furthermore we were going to present at all times. Okay we would seek refuge in the basement but we would be there. These conditions were grudgingly accepted.
She did an amazing event plan. One of her dearest friends came up from Omaha and the rest of the guests were friends she had made when we moved here. Good kids, intelligent kids. Kids who would live with our policies and even let younger twin brothers join in the frivolities. Sparkling Apple Cider was the beverage of choice.
I must admit I had trepidation when she carried the flat screen HD tv out to the front deck. But the skies were crystal clear and the hot tub was prepped for a tribe of twenty somethings in training. She created her own drive in. In a year when Drive in Theaters were so far in the past that I sounded like a geezer talking about them. And I only went a couple of times. The last time was to watch the original “Muppet Movie” at the Lake Cook Drive In on the corner of Rand and Lake-Cook Road (opposite a strip club…). Surprisingly, it’s now a series of malls…. Go Figure.
To add to the magic of this moment so many years (and just yesterday) since I first held her, there was a meteor shower. She can plan a hell of a great party, with great kids, but I’ll take the streaking comets as a gift from God.
As she was. And is. And I witnessed a bunch of really cool neo adults having a good time just being the beautiful people they are and being free and goofy and in the moment. It was a great privilege to witness, even from behind the lens.
Despite the fact, that I have let her down, hopefully she knows I was always acting from a place of love and light. Sometimes, I dropped the ball. Is that part of the lessons I’m supposed to download onto our karma? I sure didn’t think so when she was brand new. And I couldn’t control that her beloved Nonnie left her with no third adult to rely on and twin brothers who sucked every last bit of time from her needs to their six month old needs whilst I was busy burying parents, neighbors, business mentors and several others who decided now was a good time to their maker. Throw in running two houses and getting my parents’ on the market while settling estates.
But really, I’m fine. I can handle it. REALLY!
But right now, we are having a tough go of it. Seventeen years later, she doesn’t want me to come to her collegiate commencement. Either we all go or no one goes. This is a painful time. Her jettison into adulthood and her beauty continues. But not without drama. Separation, on whatever necessary level always is.
But I will secretly smile and hope that some of my love is felt by her.