Sunday, February 19, 2012

18. L'Chaim. To Life.

This month, we celebrated Angel Daughter Number Four's 18th birthday.  Incidentally, this also means that Mark and I are no longer the parents of any minor children.  Such an unfamiliar feeling to no longer be something that I have been in one form or another for almost 25 years.  Who am I now?    How do I let go?  In Judaism, when our children turn 13 and they are either Bar(for a boy) or Bat(for a girl) Mitzvahed, it is said that they are considered "adults" and are therefore responsible for their own actions, but as a parent, this was only the very beginning of acknowledging that my daughters were on their way to becoming young women.  The teen years in our home, proved to be full of wonder(I wondered how I was going to make it through!) to feeling like they might go on forever.  But, like any other stages of our daughter's lives, these years actually raced by.  In several weeks when Angel Daughter Number Three turns 20, we will only have one more teenager to finish raising up and she is now legally old enough to vote in the next presidential election, sign for her own replacement driver's license at the DMV(damn the person who stole her purse at school), or pierce another hole in her ear on a whim.(Both she and AD3 felt that "whim", last week.  Oy.)  And yet, as odd as it feels to be the momma of four young adult women, I can look at them with confidence in knowing that Mark and I did things the way that we always said that we would.  Yes, we waivered at times.  The arguments coming out of the mouth of a living, breathing individual is quite different to those that come out of the mouths of very obedient imaginary children.  But the thing is, we actually parented these daughters of ours when too many of our peers thought it wise to be their children's friends, and that is something that most certainly never works.
So, as I piece together the thoughts that I have about Angel Daughter Number Four's 18th birthday, I can truly say that Mark and I must have done something right because these daughters of our just keep getting better and better!

I love that she does not have too much pride to stand up on a chair in a very crowded restaurant with a balloon animal in her hand while shaking her adorable booty just like she did when she was three.
Even while being serenaded by the very handsome waiter who sweetly(and respectfully) flirted with her for the entire evening.
Culminating with a high-five and applause from the whole restaurant.



I just love how the little boy behind us seemed to be coveting AD4's ice cream sundae.

As did the little guy who was sitting at the table behind AD3!  I would have given them ice cream for dinner now that I am moving ahead into that "grandma" phase of life...
My beauties.  Angel Daughter Number Four(18).  Angel Daughter Number Three(19).  Angel Daughter Number Two(22).  Angel Daughter Number One(24).
This is AD1 and her boyfriend, Kyle.  He is a very nice guy from Colorado chasing his California dream.  They are cute together.
Obviously, something very interesting was happening on AD4's cellphone;)

Once again, AD4 sparkled and shined to another rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" from a packed restaurant.  There is something about watching your baby come into her own that does a momma's heart good.  She is me at that age, yet with a lot more confidence, self-assurance and moxie.  She is generous of spirit, she is lavish of heart.  She lives her life out loud and without apology.  She is Mark at that age with a contagious smile and a joyous sense of humor.  She has grown up well and I cannot wait to meet the woman that she will someday become.

In Judaism, the number "18" symbolizes life which is why Jewish people tend to give monetary gifts and donations in sums of 18.  Celebrating life is one of the most important tenants of Judaism which is why the phrase "L'chaim, To Life" is often said in celebration.  Life is a precious gift that should never be taken for granted.  It should be celebrated and exalted.  Happy, happy 18th birthday, my sweet angel baby.  We are all so incredibly proud of you.

8 comments:

Blue said...

such a lovely tribute to your girls! and it's going to be fun to watch what you do in the next stage of life, as you reinvent yourself and your role shifts. ♥

Mark said...

Yes, they're all beauties! Congratulations on not having an ugly one. That certainly would have ruined family photos. ha!
Happy Birthday to your "baby" girl. I love her "moxie" too. It certainly shows.
Okay now, four grown kids. What's next?
Happy Birthday AD4!
Your Mom's Friend, m.

Angella Lister said...

Wonderful photos! Your girls' lavishness of heart certainly shows (i love that expression!) and yes, you did so well with raising them. Please give your youngest my wishes for a fabulous 18th year, and beyond. We will be facing this same milestone with our youngest in another month, so I know just where you are in your journey! Let us hold hands. How fast they grew!

Love to you and your beautiful family,
Angella

Kathleen Botsford said...

I think those little boys are coveting your family, not the ice cream! Yes Happy Birthday to AD4! Where does the time go indeed?! I caught a look at my son bounding up the stairs this morning and my breath stuck in my throat. When did he become a Man? Why hadn't I noticed before? A little tear threatens to fall again. Sigh. Big Sigh.
We can do this. We can. Together.
Thanks for sending me love and notes while I was away. Yes. I did get my email hacked. What a big mess. I was on the phone for 3 hours yesterday. Grrr!

Ginny said...

What beautiful daughters you have! Sounds like you have done a great job parenting. I am finding it is bittersweet to see that "18" come and go. My son, will be 18 tomorrow. Glad you had such a sweet celebration!

Miss A said...

She looks so happy! They all look happy, in a very peaceful way. They are loved. You are such a great mother. Once can only wish and aspire to be as good and smart about motherhood.
Happy birthday to her. 18 is such a special age.

Laura said...

an auspicious birthday indeed. My now 18 year old loves to tell me she's an adult...all the time...this is new for me! I still have my little one (15)...but not "little" for much longer. Debbie your girls are stunning...each one a shining star like their mother!

Balebusta said...

*sigh* These pictures make me so happy, and a bit envious. The childhood I didn't have. I'm glad your girls have it though with you. It's an amazing gift to reach a new milestone in this world that feels increasingly perilous. I love seeing you celebrate with joy.

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