Today is Laura's 21st Birthday! She's celebrating in Florence and yes, it's in the midst of final exam week for GU in Florence but there's still an opportunity to kick back and enjoy the day. Denny and I talked to her on Skype early this morning and she sounds well. Dinner plans with friends at a new restaurant this evening, an ice cream cake at lunch today, and a dozen red roses from her stateside boyfriend are just some of the experiences that mark the day.
I remember the day she was born; she didn't make her appearance until the last hour of the day, 11:41 PM if memory serves. I had worked all day seeing patients but had this funny feeling that something was "going on". After dinner at home that evening and a brief walk around the neighborhood with Houston's balmy, spring weather, we summoned my parents (yes, those parents that we just moved into a new adult family home yesterday!) to come over to stay with two year old son, Chris. Mom then came down to the hospital with my sister, MM to be there for the "big event". We left my Dad on his own with Chris.
I told Laura today that welcoming her into the world on April 21, 1988 was one of the happiest days of my life. Most mothers, I suspect, would say the same about those birthdays.
Don't we all remember our 21st Birthdays? There's something momentous about turning 21, above and beyond the fact that drinking alcohol is legal. 21 is the age when we are considered adults (although there are still some things you can't do at this age, like rent a car) and that, as I recall :) is a good feeling.
When I turned 21, I was also far away from my parents. It was 1975 in Ithaca, NY and I had just returned to Cornell for the start of my senior year in college. Mom and Dad were home in Aruba on that special day in my life. I celebrated with my friends. The day was good and I remember feeling grateful for all the blessings in my life.
To my dearest daughter: May you enjoy the day and know that you are much loved by family and friends. Breathe in the mystery and magic of Florence as your time there draws to a close. We can't wait to welcome you home in five more days!