My babygirl turned 18 on Saturday.
It was a near perfect day for her. She woke up to French toast and then ran her final cross country race on a beautiful day. She didn't set a personal record, but she did run this challenging course in under 24.5 minutes. While at the race, her boyfriend decorated her bedroom, so she arrived to pink and blue streamers. She was thrilled at the surprise.
The highlight for any girl is the party. Mamma cleaned for hours, then set a gorgeous table for seven young ladies. They dined on what girls that age like best (pasta) and talked almost non-stop. Best of all... Since I cooked, cleared, did dishes and took care of the details, while they dined, I got to be in the kitchen with them, listening to their chatter. It reminded me of countless hours of carpooling, when I got the scoop on what really goes on in their heads.
That's a secret in parenting. Kids talk in the car, so once they get their licences, moms lose insight into their lives. On Saturday I got a tiny peek into that window.
I felt so fortunate. C and her friends are such lovelies. Each with their own unique ways about them.
As I write this on the train, I'm desperate to hold on. It's almost visceral, this feeling that time with my children is slipping through my fingers.
A year from now, perhaps, these girls will gather once again in my kitchen, home for Thanksgiving.
I'm so happy that these girls are growing into wonderful women, and C is incredibly fortunate to have these girls in her life. I can't stop wondering where they will be next year. I'm reflecting on who they were not very long ago when they were in elementary school, and I'm already missing my daughter and her friends.
Yet, somehow I can't stop thinking of my own 18th birthday, especially when everything is about Paris. Some 27 years ago, I was on my own adventure... I turned 18 in Venice - should have been picture perfect. Turned out that it was "a hard luck day" chasing a Hard Rock Cafe that didn't exist in Venice (but you could buy a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt, which I thought was very exclusive... and I let it ruin what could have been a perfect day). Seeing the images from Paris, I remember how I had just visited Paris the previous week - on Bastille Day, 1988. (Sigh) In the summer before the Pan Am plane exploded over Lockerby, I never once thought about terrorism (robbery, losing my passport, getting injured, running out of money, what if my boyfriend broke up with me... these things worried me. Fundamentalists blowing up a concert hall? Never occurred to me).
My parents only worry that summer was if I'd come home after 6 weeks... Our would I run of with a boy. I guess I feel the same way. Once she leaves, will she return? If I always came home, (and I was much less responsible than she is), I have every reason to believe she will, too.
She hasn't even left on her own life's adventures, but I already want to bring her home. That's not very fair since my parents were always willing to let me go wherever I wanted. I always came home, always checked in. I still check in daily with my father - even if it's only a quick "how are you." Dad calls them "routine calls."
I used to think my mom and dad would let me go because they didn't love me as much as more protective parents loved their kids. Turns out, they did - and possibly, they loved me more because they trusted me!
As for my babygirl - I'm going to enjoy every second I can with her. It's the least I can do to show her that I love her. Enjoy her while she - and her friends - are here.