Tuesday, February 5

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

My baby girl turned 22 on Sunday.

I spoke with her on the phone twice that day. The last time we spoke, she mentioned how she hadn't had a decent birthday since before she was 15.

I believe my daughters have had every conceivable type of birthday celebration. I remember parties at the gymnastics center, pizza parlor hoorahs, and slumber parties. Once we even celebrated at a local beauty college where the guests enjoyed manicures and new hairdos!

I tried to make it interesting and tried to make it memorable. Was that the wrong thing to do? I thought a mother's job was to create a happy childhood for their children.

The only problem with that concept is that we can't control everything. I never thought in a million years, that I wouldn't be able to continue grand celebrations year after year. I never though we'd all be so scattered, either.

I believe on Jeni's 15th birthday, she realized her life had changed. The life she knew up to this point, had ceased to exist. There would be no more family dinners... shared family memories in the making.

I tried to smooth things over by reminiscing about all the happy times from her childhood birthdays. I joked about how I still have the birthday present from her 15th birthday.

I then offered up the fact she is an adult now, and sadly, adult birthdays are just different.

So, all you mothers of little ones out there, I was all set to ask your thoughts on this. I was doubting myself for creating a memorable childhood. I hate it that she misses it now. I grieve for her loss.

But I think I've figured it out. I think Jeni is fortunate she has experienced the joy and love that comes with a being part of a family. But she is far ahead of her contemporaries in other respects.

She has also experienced the pain.


Christine said...

don't doubt yourself. you did your best and i am trying to do mine. you wanted it to be a happy time and it was. and you are right--grown up birthdays are different, but they can still be fun. i hope she finds some joy today.

Running on empty

slouching mom said...

Oh, and what a beautiful baby she was.

You did great, mama. I know it.

anna said...

Ah, Mizmell, I don't think a mother's job is to create a happy childhood for her children. A mother's job is to be there when her children are disappointed in the childhood they have gotten. So by my reckoning, you have done your job very well indeed.

Linda and her Surroundings said...

I recall that I was very ungrateful about things to my mother when I was in my early 20's. I doubt it is so much about you, she may have doubts about herself.

blackbird said...

I am going to be very outspoken here...I think that was a little bratty of her to say.
Parents do EVERYTHING for their children - you did nothing to purposely set out for her to not have lovely birthdays from 15 to 22.
Maybe she was feeling a little sorry for herself.
I'll shut up now, because I think it sounds like you have put her comment into perspective without me getting involved.

Kathleen Mortensen said...

Linda, I know exactly what you mean; I was a total bitch to my mom when I was in my 20s - ungrateful, selfish, moronic. I blame it on men! Bring them into the picture in your late teens and you turn into a hateful cow (sorry, maybe that's just me.)
I remember the best birthday when I was a kid (pre-boys). It was a slumber party for my 11th - we had grape floats and watched "Arsenic and Old Lace" on tv and then we slept in sleeping bags on the floor of our unfurnished dining room. We were awake into the wee hours and it was a blast. I think there was a kid there for each of the 11 years. It was great! My mom was awesome!
Mizmell, I'm sure in later years, your daughter will look back and feel the same way I do about my mom. She'll appreciate all your thoughtfulness and care and devotion.