Monday, February 18, 2008

Birthday Girl

This weekend was spent with my sister and niece who came to town to celebrate my niece turning 18 tomorrow, a fact I'm still struggling to wrap my mind around. In my mind, Chelsea made it to seven and there remains forever and ever. It's easy to trick my mind, trapping her there, even when I myself have a seven-year-old. When I'm with her, however, I'm reminded most clearly that she's now an adult, and by that, I am deeply disturbed.

Stuck at Seven

In celebration of her last weekend as a non-adult, we spent the weekend behaving very casually. There was a good bit of lounging around, plenty of junk food eating, some sleeping in and a great deal of shopping. We planned to spend all of Saturday shopping for a prom dress, but found the perfect one at the very first store we went to. We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing through clothing stores at an enormous outlet mall and came home for a family dinner of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

After church on Sunday, we went to IKEA to shop for dorm supplies (as she goes to University in the fall -- ACK!), we browsed at Barnes and Noble, we saw a movie, and we went to a Sushi restaurant with the most horrendous wait service. Back at home, we sang an out-of-tune birthday song with accompaniment by a boy on a pink plastic piano. We ate the ugliest store-bought birthday cake, lettered crookedly and featuring mustard-colored frosting and gaudy flowers. After everyone had gone to bed, I subjected her to the obligatory after-school-special sort of talking to about choices and decisions*, though she is the most level-headed teen I've ever known. Then she and I watched an hour or two of ridiculousness on Comedy Central, laughing together at exactly the same things.

They left this morning with compliments of a fun-filled weekend, but I honestly wish I could have done more to celebrate this milestone in her life. I would like to have wrapped up the very best parts of the world as a gift, and would have still found it to be lacking. I love that girl -- she is the absolute best. We're thirteen years apart, but despite an age difference, we relate so closely. I could rehash all of our joint experiences, but suffice it to say that she has been an absolute blessing to my life. Happy birthday, my sweet girl.

* She found out on Saturday while she was here that someone in her life (a boy who was more than an acquaintance, but less than a close friend) just died Friday night from an overdose. Though there's no question in my mind that these sorts of behaviors is something she personally avoids, it's possible that this boy died while experimenting. She'd not known him to be a drug user, and was surprised by his death. My badgering was more about being conscious of the world around her than it was about withstanding peer pressure. I'm so grateful that she's so wise, but good gracious -- it's so frightening to send a girl into the world!


  • Anonymous

    AWWWW I feel special. I have that same picture of us in a box of special momentos. I had a great weekend, thanks for making the last weekend of underage-ed-ness very special. LOVIN' YOU.

    PS Don't forget to check out Teagan and Sara

  • Emily

    Hey! That cake wasn't that bad. I seem to remember a cake for a certain someone's birthday one summer. If you don't remember the cake, it had something to do with a dog and a lot of yellow icing. :p

  • The Dukes Family

    What a fun time ... your love for her is evident. Glad you had time for some meaningful talks!

  • Christy

    That picture was taken right before or around the time she was diagnosed with diabetes. It amazes me how unhealthy and emaciated she looks in that photo and we were completely blind to it at the time.

  • Jenny James

    Sounds like a special bond. Glad to see you had a fun family weekend... despite the rain.

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