I think I can safely say that my childhood has come softly and complacently to a close. Like a baby-sitter sneaking out of the room of a child they just ever so gently lulled to sleep, there it goes. Today on my 23rd birthday, I turned. Turned from 22 to 23. But really I think the moment you are one age, you begin to turn the next. So tomorrow, I will be turning 24. And the next day and the next until the day of my birth comes again. Not being a child doesn't mean I won't delight in Christmas, sleep in late, eat ice cream for dinner, love red skittles the best, or get excited about new tennis shoes--don't sign me up for shuffle board and the early-bird special just yet. Age is inevitable--maturity is optional; and youth is a state of mind, says my whipper-snapper of a father. And indeed it is.
One year, I think my five-year old birthday party, I had a "kitty-cat" birthday party. Cats. Everywhere. Cat cupcakes, cat plates, cat food (juuuust kidding), cat costumes. We had it all. Meeeeooowww. I think in 4th or 5th grade I had a princess birthday party, where everyone came in dress-up clothes and my dad made cut-out cardboard crowns and my friends and I colored in the "jewels". My mother served tea and crumpets and tiny sandwiches and other small, dainty, royal foods. At sweet 16 my mother threw me a huge surprise party with all of my friends from school and church--believe me I was surprised; I almost had a stroke when they all screamed from the dark. When I turned 18 I decided to have a Christmas themed birthday party, (you're shocked, aren't you?), and my parents dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus. Jessica and Melody were elves. Very cute elves, at that. At 19 I discovered designer jeans and when I turned 21 I discovered Budweiser Select. That, and my friends threw me a totally amazing surprise Christmas birthday party, (shocker again, right?), that I loved. Right down to the non-traditional "Christmas tree" (a small pine tree the boys chopped down in the woods) to the spray-on snow around the windows in our Ridge apartment (that we practically had to scrape off). At 10 you hit "double digits". At 13 you're a rotten teenager. At 15 you get your permit and your parents warn people to stay off the roads; at 16 your full license gives you freeeeedom--at least until your midnight curfew. Turn 18 and you're a voting adult. 20 you're in your "twenties". At 21 you're legal. At 23, apparently you get a husband. Yeeeehaw, I like 23!
I'm excited about my 23rd year of life. I'm thankful for it. I've got my health. I've got food, clothing, shelter. I've got family and friends that I love so much I just want to squeeze them all every time I see them. I've got a closer-than-a-brother, stickin'-like-glue, where-you-go-I-go relationship with JESUS, (woah, he's like totally famous). And I've got a song in my heart and a smile on my lips. And that, my friends, is more than a girl could ever ask for.
Amen, and amen.