When Aub turned 3, I planned, with the help of my Joyful friend, a party with the theme of “Pink Pigs, Puppets, and Pizza.” (I do love alliteration!) It was a lot of fun, as all of the parties were back then, and I even had her third birthday picture made in her favorite pink nightgown with all of her pink pigs sitting beside her. I love that picture.
Tomorrow my girl turns 21.
I don’t know how that happened. Cliche’ but true. The days were long and the years were short.
And now–here we are. 21.
Tonight I mentioned to my older friend who is the epitome of wisdom, love, grace, and spryness that I guessed I was done. Twenty-one equals grown, right?
I was walking behind her, and saw her shoulders shake with her mirth before I heard her laughter. “Oh me…..okay. Sure. We’ll let you think that for now.”
I know better. I really do.
My girl wanted a very laid back birthday this year. I was good with that. It seems like the world right now is a cyclone of chaos and to do’s and needs and what not, so a chance to sit. And be. And not much else. SURE. YES. The gift that keeps on giving.
We gathered in the backyard with the fire going (I’m getting pretty good at starting them now), and I set out the hot dogs and fixin’s along with the sticks for roasting. I had a few decorations I’d put together for the day with a small sign with the theme for her 21st birthday “party.”
I returned to alliteration eighteen years later. (I was in a play in Junior High with Beta Club, and my one line that I still remember was “I just love alliteration.” I looked up what that was, and you know what? Turns out I do. To this day.) Only the letter has changed. This year’s theme?
Mason Jars, Mermaids, Makeup, and Monograms.
My baby girl who isn’t a baby anymore loves most things Southern. Traditions, cornbread, grits, pearls, and Mason Jars for anything from drinking out of them to storing things. I tried a Pinterest project (ha–close to a fail, I’d say, but since I learned from it, we’re moving it to the WIN column) and “frosted” some jars with mermaids inside. If you want to know more, let me know. I’ll do my best to tell you the right way to do it, which the folks on Pinterest most definitely did NOT do. As for the mermaids, a dear friend of mine and I talk about them as a symbol of not only adapting but transforming into something beautiful wherever you are. Aub is about to enter a whole new way of life, with this “official” adulthood thing. I don’t want her to feel like she’s underwater…..I want her to grow a tail and swim–take off and make the new way of life her own. As for the makeup, she loves it. Since she’s 21 and not 11 anymore, I’m okay with that. She is beautiful inside and out, makeup or no, and as long as she remembers that, I don’t have a problem with her enjoying the world of makeup. (I do have a problem with the folks who didn’t recognize that her cake, designed and made by her loving Mama, was a compact and NOT a toilet. We won’t even go there, folks. I’m about to get sappy, and I can’t if I revisit my emotions attached to that experience.) Monograms needs no explanation–I’ve written about that before. She loves ALL THE THINGS monogrammed. Even her cookies. Today we were talking about her monogram, and she said, “I do love it. It’s so asymmetrical.” You’re welcome, boo. Of course I thought about that when naming you. Ahem.
Tonight as I remember where I was exactly this moment 21 years ago (calling my parents, his parents, my dear friend, heading to the hospital), I am thinking about that letter M and all of the other things it could have stood for–Mercer (where she might maybe perhaps go to grad school), Mouse (her nickname before she was born), Mama (who loves her dearly), Mic drop (something she does regularly), Mississippi (because she is a really good speller and knew how to spell it almost as soon she knew her alphabet…..and so many others. But as I sat down by the fire last night, and realized how far she’s come, and yet this is only the beginning, I thought about the things I wish for her in the years to come that start with the M.
*Make time for the things you love. Don’t toss the things you enjoy doing aside permanently for the sake of your career or even another person. If you love it, make time for it.
*”Make hay while the sun shines.” Work hard when the opportunity presents itself. Never go halfway. Give it your all.
*Make a difference. In whatever you do, do it in kindness and with good intent.
*Make someone laugh or smile. At least once a day. And it’s okay if that person is you.
*Make other people feel important. Because they are.
*Meander on the less traveled path. Learn to love the other way around.
*Mix it up. Try new things. Attempt something you never thought possible. Eat a new food. Read a different genre. Take archery lessons.
*Move. Your arms. Legs. Head. Dance. Walk. Run. When you are moving, it’s harder to sit on your pity pot. Trust me, I know this.
*Middle. Sit there every once in a while. Or more often. It offers a different perspective, and different perspectives can be very good to try out for size.
*Master something you’re curious about. Painting. Knitting. Piano. Underwater Basket Weaving. No one can ever take your skills away from you.
*Music. Listen. As much as possible to as many kinds as possible. Music can lift your spirits or rest with them where you are. Never be without music.
*Make. Create. Share.
*Motivation. Seek it. Offer it.
*Move on. Move beyond. Don’t get stuck in that one bad moment. Or bad experience. Or held up by that one person who doesn’t get you and never will. Let it go. (Yeah, I said it–I sang it too.) I feel that it will be okay. It will be okay.
*Muse. Listen to her. Let her guide your thoughts and your words. Write. Please. The world needs your voice.
*Metamorphose. As much as it takes. Change. Adapt. Grow. Never stop growing. Adapting. Becoming.
*Miracle. You are mine. Be good to my treasure. Because I love you.
And I give thanks for you every single day.
May Light shine upon you, today and everyday–chasing the darkness away, so that you can reflect all the good that has gone before you and offer a glimpse of all the good you will bring in the days and years to come.
Happy 21st birthday, Aub!
You are loved.