My one and only baby is eighteen years old today. It doesn't seem that long ago since she was a helpless little bundle that was so eager to get into this world she barely gave me time to get to the hospital and made her entrance just 90 minutes later.
I thank her for all the joy she has given me over the years...a joy I thought I would never see once I reached the dreaded forty. I thank her for all her love, her hard work at school, her comfort in dark times, her laughter and most of all for just being there. I thank her for keeping me sane. I apologise for being a ham-fisted mum at the start and not knowing which end was which when trying to apply the first nappy! I apologise for sometimes playing the bad cop, when she needed telling. Most of all I apologise for bringing her into this alcoholic environment that most kids should not have to experience.
She is a joy to behold - I wish I could share a photo with you - but for obvious reasons cannot, as I am sure you will appreciate. Trust me, she is stunning and turns heads. She has a wise head on her young shoulders. After all, she survived a trip to the Guatemalan jungle last year and came back in one piece. She knows the dangers of alcohol and promises me she will not drink to excess. She has seen the results painfully too often. However, as the youngest in her school year, she has had to sit out on too many friends' outings to clubs and pubs, as she did not have the requisite 18-year-old ID. She is at least very keen to try that out as soon as she can.
She and I are planning to wander around central London today and do whatever we fancy. Predictably Greg is not up to coming with us. (He has just come back with his daily purchase of whisky). I shall take Kay into a pub and get her to order some drinks with our lunch! Then tonight a quiet meal out somewhere. She is planning a birthday outing later in the week with her friends and they intend to go clubbing till the wee small hours of the morning. Just because they can and are old enough. My baby is no more. My grandmother used to say "small children, small worries; big children, big worries." It's true. When they are little you worry about them falling over and grazing their knee. When they older, you worry about the pressure they are put under at school. As they reach adulthood, you wonder what smart young boy is going to drive her into a tree at 60 miles an hour. I suppose you never stop worrying, but you have to let go. For their peace of mind and yours!
So happy birthday, darling, and have a wonderful day.