Twenty years ago today, we brought our beautiful baby girl home for the first time. Two decades later, she controls her own movements and has a travel trajectory that is leading her in exactly the opposite direction of our house. We can’t blame her, really. Let’s see…first free week after final exams: Shreveport or Winter Park, Colorado? How long do you figure she weighed that decision? She’ll be home for Christmas; at least that’s the working plan. It just won’t be for as long as we had hoped.
The emotional issue we faced was being separated from her on the day she turned 20. It was all lost on her because she was covered up with everything that goes into preparing for finals. She’s also working part time at a fancy clothing store and this is the holiday shopping season, so the boss needed her. Let’s just say she was kind of overwhelmed with duties and obligations.
So, we surprised her and, with cooperation from her roommates, sneaked into her apartment at TCU shortly after noon on her birthday. She had taken her last test earlier in the morning, and when we found her she was lost to the world, immersed in slumber while relieved of stress and responsibility for the first time in weeks. It was almost a shame to wake her. Her mother said, “Happy Birthday!” in her sweet Mommy way. Our daughter said “Mom?” and became obviously disoriented. She started looking around, assessing her location. She had no idea we were coming, so in those in-between moments as she was awakening, she thought she was in her room at home but naturally that made no sense. He mother said “its okay, honey. You’re still at school.” Finally, she figured it out and smiled.
She woke up and eagerly agreed to let us take her to lunch for her birthday. We had brought along a carload of presents from us and her grandparents. So, we spent part of the afternoon unwrapping, trying on and doing other gift-related activities. Happily, one of her closest hometown friends was also in town and we got to spend time with her, too. The roommates had thrown her a surprise party at midnight. By all accounts, it was a brief but memorable affair. It was designed by necessity as a study break. There were balloons, party favors, gifts and even a piñata.
I was just happy to get her out of the bed and spend a couple of hours with her.
We said so long and turned around for home because she had to pack her skiing gear and hit the westbound highway. It’s amazing how much life changes in twenty years. Two decades ago, she was crying. Today, despite being exhausted, I’m pretty sure she’s laughing all the way to the slopes. I’m confident she had a happy birthday and that’s really all you can ask for.