No one prepared me for this stage of parenting. There are tons of books preparing you for having a baby, potty training, dealing with tantrums, getting children safely through adolescence (on this one I think you can count no drug addictions, no lasting scars, and no arrests a win --- actually, even if these things happen and you are still standing you can count it a win) and, how to handle that first year of college. But, there is absolutely nothing that prepares a parent for the gut wrenching years of seeing your children through early adulthood. This has been the hardest summer of my life and I am not ashamed to admit it. One child completed graduate school in a triumphant manner --- big celebration, happy times, lots of emotion and hoop-la followed by an even more emotional move to a far away city where I cannot get to her in under seven hours. She is all alone. I cannot be there to see her through. She has to do this by herself. I hope I have prepared her.
Another child completed a graduate degree, passed all the parts of an impossibly hard test and moved to a new city to begin a new job using the new degree. It all sounded good. Then there was a really bad break up which pretty much brought us all to our knees and caused all kinds of turmoil and heartache followed by a rough adjustment to the new job. Have I given him the skills he needs to navigate this road?
Our daughter in law also began a new job this summer which has really been a challenge. I wish so badly I could do this for her but I can't. I hope I am the encourager and supporter she needs. Am I doing my job?
What brought on these dismal musings in this lightweight blog, you ask. Well, our youngest child, the baby, turned 21 this weekend. Of course, we had a fun celebration with friends and family at our home on Saturday night and I want to share a few pictures from it with you.
You need to know that I like to use what I have on hand as much as possible. If you could see my garden you would know that this year it was "slim pickins." What it boiled down to was plenty of zinnias and a handful of ornamental peppers. But, like the loaves and the fishes look at how it all turned out!
I arranged the zinnias in martini glasses using some floral oasis and fern from my porch and the ornamental peppers looked great on an appetizer tray in a small silver pitcher. Using surprising containers lifted my home-grown flowers to a new level!
The table settings included pea shooters --- a huge hit, paper pumpkins with surprises tucked inside and chalk table runners and buckets of chalk. No, these were not four year olds, but, they loved it!
The birthday girl loves art and I have discovered that the wonderful people at The Tulip Tree Wedding Chapel will tackle any cake. Last year it was Van Gogh's Starry Night --- my very favorite painting, and this year I requested Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Look at how well they turned out!!!
I know all that techno stuff should not be in this picture but I do not know how to get rid of it. I told you I am not good at technology.
It would not be a party without friends.......
So, to the birthday girl I would say that it is your time to sparkle and shine and even though this may seem like a rite of passage to you, Dad and I know that it is really another milestone for us. To all the parents of adult children I would say "Buck up! Our job is never finished!"