Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Seventeen Years of Emily -- Part 2

It's the night before our oldest child's 18th birthday...and she's not home. It's the first time in her whole life that she won't wake up in her own bed for her special day.

To be honest, it's a little odd...and a little sad.

But sad doesn't mean it's not right. She's in college, after all.

Part of living at college is being away from home, even during those special moments you've always celebrated at home.

I remember the first birthday I woke up in a different place... I was also a freshman at college, though I'd taken two years off to live in England with my parents. I turned 20.

I felt it was probably one of the most depressing parts of "growing up." Being alone on your birthday? Well, alone in a dorm is a little different than actually being alone. Although, I felt I might as well be alone to start one really recognized that it was my birthday. Of course, I had my 21st birthday and my 22nd birthday...and my 23rd birthday at college, too. But by then I was more used to it...and had a few friends to celebrate it with.

I celebrated my 24th birthday in Honesdale, Pa., during my employment with Highlights for Children. Actually, that year is a bit of a blur since Stuart had a horrible accident that month and ended up in the hospital for nearly three weeks, and I had to go represent HFC's book side, Boyds Mills Press, at library book conferences in Harrisburg, Williamsburg, and Syracuse.

By my 25th birthday, I worked for the Reading Eagle and had to take off for my birthday. It was a company rule. You had to take a personal day for your birthday and one for your work anniversary, unless you were married and then it was your wedding anniversary.

That was the year "Birthday Adventures" were born. It wasn't elaborate or even very memorable, but I remember doing something different that year, like taking a bubble bath and getting a bunch of library books...and just relaxing.

I know that Emily will be a little bit sad to be away from home on her actual birthday. We'll head over to steal her away from campus later in the day after her classes. But she's growing up and spreading her wings and experiencing life in a whole new way.

And it may not necessary feel good...but it's right.

Sleep well, sweet girl. We are dreaming of you always.

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