Birthdays mean as much to guests as to guest of honor

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, October 22, 2003

By Staff
Connie Nowlin Managing editor
Birthdays are one of the things that make up a lifetime, things that are remembered long after they are gone.
I bet you can remember at least one special birthday, the guests, what you had to eat, maybe a special gift you received.
Mine was a saddle, when I was 8 years old, but that is a different column.
There are two big birthday events in our family this week.
The little guy will have his first birthday tomorrow, but we are going to put off celebrating it until Saturday. That way he will think Williams Station Day is all for him, and we brought in all those trains in his honor.
He will have all the requisite gifts, cake, ice cream, everything a 1-year-old needs to make a glorious mess.
His daddy will beam with pride and his mama will probably squall a little, since it is the official end of babyhood and the beginning of little boydom.
Sunday was the other big day in the birthday week.
My oldest baby, Kate, turned 18.
Talk about a mama stretched to the breaking point.
I have wanted to just cloud up and storm for more than a week.
She has no business being 18. She is still the little blonde-haired angel smiling at me from inside the dryer, pacifier clenched in her teeth, bottom as bare as the day she was born.
I wanted her to stay little, so I could stay her champion, Super Mom, able to right everything in her world with a kiss and a teacake.
At the same time, I was so proud of her with every accomplishment and goal she achieved that it was almost enough to make up for the end of her babyhood.
I understood the trust she showed in me when it was me to whom she cried out her teen-ager's tears. My heart broke right along with hers and I would have done anything in the world to make the hurt stop.
But I could not, not anymore than I could make her stay
little, or even make her stay blonde, for that matter.
And she is doing fine on her own, as kids that age will, if they have the right tools to work with, given to them when they are younger.
I had no idea what to give her as a gift for such a momentous occasion. What would be right? Finally I asked her what she would like to have.
Without any hesitation, she said she would like me to send her a check large enough to pay for her fuel to come visit me.
Somewhere along the way, I must have done something right. I have reared a good kid. Now if I could just force myself to let go of her.
Connie Nowlin is managing editor and may be reached at 368-2123 or e-mail at

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