Eleven years ago this month, I went into labor with Adelaide on my birthday, though it was still three days after that before she made her arrival earth side. As with any labor, those three days felt like one blurry moment, and I think that feeling has in some ways remained through the years. Our birthdays now blend right into one another with hardly a pause, except for the quick changing out of photos from mine to hers on the kitchen windows beneath the birthday banner. It suits us, really...my fellow Virgo, my (not-so-little) girl who I share so much in common with, this little lady who prefers intimate gatherings over large parties. And so it is that this birthday week has really become Beach Week each year, as that's where both of us want to be. We brought our best beach selves to the game this year, beach hopping each day as we celebrated not only my entry into a new decade but also her "golden birthday" (eleven on the eleventh!). Interrupted by a few pies and cakes of course, and maybe some ice cream cones too, we also were entertained for four days straight with Harper's on-repeat rendition of Happy Birthday created on his Snap Circuits (complete with hand clap/sensor for that repeat), and so many hydrangeas from Annabel that it's amazing there are any left on the plants outside.
Skipping right on over the reality and bittersweetness that time is flying by "too fast" for me at this big year marker (but oh, I'm happy about 40, I really am), I was most definitely feeling that way with my baby girl (who is not a baby anymore). Eleven - from what I've experienced twice before with the boys - is such a big transitional year and I see it all beginning with her too. Exciting and fun changes and also some challenge and struggle! Don't rush it, baby girl. Don't rush these magical years, I'm always thinking and worrying when I see glimpses of what might be seen as growing up a bit too fast. But as I tucked her into bed last night, I noticed her hair had flecks of seaweed from all the wave-jumping we had done earlier in the day. "Oh, Ada....why didn't you take a shower to get all of that out of your hair?" I asked. Her eyes twinkled a bit (she's got a great eye twinkle!) and with a little giggle she said, "Well, I was thinking that maybe if I left it in my hair for the night, I'd turn into a mermaid." And I was reminded that I could worry a little less. She's just fine.
And I know what she means, actually. These September days at the ocean are really something special. There's a golden light that makes everything glow, the shoreline is quieter than it was a month earlier, and as we stand in the ocean letting the waves wash over us, or run into them with our loudest voices, or whatever our preferred method of embracing the water, we can't help but wonder if this is our last time in for the year. And so we soak it all in and see it all clearly, just in case it is. And as surely as I am washed over with the feeling of being alive in that cold awakening water, I also find myself washed in gratitude for this crew at my side. We are very lucky birthday girls, indeed.