Today my youngest turned 21. Yep, remember, I’m old. This is yet another reminder, along with the menopausal insomnia and, as if that wasn’t enough, the dozen daily heat flushes. (Just for the record, they’re not flashes; they’re flushes. They don’t come and go in a flash; they flush up my body slowly, rising through my torso and arms to the top of my head so I break out in a sweat and strip myself of any clothes or covering I may have on, and then they flush back down again and I’m left freezing.)
But it’s not about me today. It’s about Katrina. aka Katrina Mary. aka Katrina Mary Ellen (she added the Ellen to the Mary in honor of her grandmother Mary Ellen for whom she was in fact given the middle name of Mary, and it appears on both her Junior High and High School diplomas much to my annoyance). aka Trina. aka Tree. aka the oldest and wisest soul I know.
She’s spending her 21st birthday — a day most young people spend in Vegas — on a volunteer internship to the Dominican Republic. If I were a great mom — oh, wait, I am a great mom. Okay, if I were a more forward-planning mom, I would have mailed her a birthday present/card the day she left so that she would have it on her birthday, and still feel loved even though she’s so far away from us. I’m not.
I know I should have wise and witty words about this momentous occasion. I do not. I know I should look long and deep into my heart and create an earth-shattering metaphor about life in transition and change and courage and life-lessons. I haven’t.
On the other hand, I’ve raised the best kids, including my daughters-who-aren’t-my-daughters. Cory, my “eldest,” is currently working on a cruise ship in China. Did you catch that? ON A CRUISE SHIP IN CHINA, in the middle of the ocean with only random access to the internet. SHE planned ahead and sent out an email requesting photos from friends and family celebrating Trina’s birthday in her absence, which she planned to put together in a collage and send to Trina a few days before her birthday when she knew she would have enough internet access to download, assemble and upload the collage. What a fabulous idea! We all fell in creating birthday party photos which resulted in this lovely piece of art:
We’re the dorks in the middle with the camera/phone pointing up at us instead of down, as Brandi (the eldest I gave birth to) was so kind to point out.
But THEN Cory got even more creative and brilliant and put together this video of all the “leftover” pictures she had received:
I catch more surprises every time I watch it. I love how Brandi and her friends spelled out Trina while all wearing Giants t-shirts. I love Grandma holding up the baby shoes. (Grandma has all of her grandchildren’s baby shoes hanging on a spot on the wall in her kitchen.) I love the cupcakes that Prince Charming lined up in a “21” with his niece and nephews. I love the poster that Brandi created and used in several different pictures.
I. Just. Love. Our. Family.
Given my childhood, that’s accomplishment enough.