Happy 21st Birthday... I know, it is way after your birthday. But I wanted to make a little speech at your birthday party, and didn't.
So here goes...
First of all, this old picture of you, standing in your "store" in the Little Woods, and looking all full of wonder at it all... this picture will always by My Meggy to me. And when we are canoeing on the lake or just walking through the forests, I guess that is all just sort of keeping on with this same idea - of you and the woods and feeling happy about everything.
No matter how grown up and far away you get, I will always see you this way - just like this picture.
Well, what I was going to stand up and say at your birthday was that when people have kids, they spend more time than they like to think worrying.... wondering if the little baby will make it through those first mysterious days home from the hospital; if that cough or upset stomach will ever get better; if they will fall down, or get lost... and then when they start to get independent, if they will get hurt at school, get into dangerous habits or hook up with destructive people.
And then, the ultimate fear - DRIVING! When your child first gets into a car and solos on their own - will they ever come back in one piece? Parents spend lots of time watching the clock and worrying, and it is only when the little child (not little any more of course) is safe again inside the house, that they relax and go about their routine.
And all through this - these years and years of worry - we always think to ourselves:
"If they can just make it to twenty-one, then everything will be OK. They will be all grown up and safe."
And you made it!
That is all I wanted to say. I have looked forward to this event for over 20 years - that is a long time. And while I will never completely stop worrying, at least now I feel you can stand on your own two feet and deal with the world.
So congratulations. I am happy to say "Happy 21st Birthday" at last, and I am proud of where you are in your life as you start your first year of adulthood.
Past secret pages: July 1999 August 1999 October/November 1999 December 1999 Thanksgiving 1999