"The first fact about the celebration of birthdays is that it is a good way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive."
~G.K. Chesterton, "Our Birthday," 1935
TG turned 25 two weeks ago. She spent it floating the San Marcos River with her boyfriend, brothers, sister-in-law, and other friends, while I snuck away for a weekend with my Divas at Lake Livingston.
But she let us celebrate it when I returned with her favorites: pizza, chocolate cake (courtesy of my daughter-in-law) and a surprise bottle of champagne, because she really never asks for anything.
Only fitting for a first quarter century birthday, right?
However, I've felt like a terrible mom and blogger that I haven't wished her a happy birthday here yet, as I always do. But I've been trying to sort out my thoughts about my baby - my youngest baby - turning 25. It's a true milestone for both of us!
I can't put it off any longer, though. I'll just try my best to sort them out now...
She was my last baby. But from the time a baby draws its first breath, it begins growing up, a steady progression from infant to toddler to pre-teen to college student to grown-up. There's nothing you can do to stop it, even if you wanted to.
But why would you want to? Each age of your child is an amazing thing to behold, even when they get so grown it makes you realize how old you are and how fast your life is flying by.
This past year has been one of transition and clarity. When I realized my mom was going downhill... when I sensed that my time with her on earth was limited... my focus shifted to just being there for her, making sure she knew she wasn't alone.
Looking back, I can see that TG shifted her focus at the same time, whether she knew it or not... except it was to be there for me, to be sure I knew I wasn't alone as my mother drifted further away from me.
So instead of sad memories filling those last few months, I remember a lot of bantering and teasing and my mother's eyes lit with joy at the sight of her beautiful, funny, smart granddaughter. There are memories of us laughing at corny Hallmark movies, Walker-Texas Ranger, and the Golden Girls, and of getting up earlier than normal on Sunday mornings to maneuver Mama's wheelchair into the chapel for Baptist services.
I'll never forget TG passing out hymnals, charming the other residents, and holding up her hymnal where Mama could see it.
It had been TG's idea to attend the services with Mama, so it's to her that I'm eternally grateful for my last "truly alive" memories of Mama: the feel of her hand clinging to mine while three generations sang the hymns of my childhood together.
And then, of course, TG and Daniel were both there beside me during that long night in the hospital as I said my last goodbye to Mama. They were no longer children needing my attention, just there for me and their grandmother ... friends supporting us and helping me have strength to be there for my own mom as she traveled past the pain of this life.
The thing is (as my mother loved to say)... somewhere along the way, when I wasn't looking, my babies grew up.
And it's an amazing thing to behold.
Happy 25th birthday, TG!
I hope the next quarter century is filled with love, laughter, and wonderful memories.
Your sweet soul deserves it.
I love you, precious girl.
"A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend." ~Author Unknown