OK...so, I must have been a child bride. How else could my youngest child be 21 years old today?! Well, I'm not sure where all of the time went, but one thing is for sure...it FLEW!
Girls, in and of themselves, are a totally different breed and as Caitlin's 21st birthday snuck upon us, she began dropping hints that made it quite evident that this was a "Landmark Birthday" and she expected some sort of "Landmark Celebration". Hmmm...what to do, what to do. Birthdays around here are pretty special anyway and are always celebrated, but she was looking for something with a little more punch. Then, I knew exactly what we would do...it wouldn't just be a "Birth-Day", but a "Birthday Weekend"! When I began my planning, I initially thought we would be in the Lake House by then...those hopes were quickly dashed, so I started working on "Plan B".
Caitlin would drive in from school on Thursday evening and she along with her father and I would plan on attending the first Christmas party of the season; this would be sure to put us all in a festive mood. I FINALLY got finished with all of that Christmas decorating too, so the house would have that warm, toasty, holiday feel. After we returned home from the party, the first "surprise" would be set into motion. I hired a company to come out after dark and decorate our entire lawn! The "theme" would be "Legally Blonde", since that has been Caitlin's favorite movie forever...and we DO all call her Elle. There would be princess crowns placed strategically all over the yard, with a big sign that said. "21 Snaps For Caitlin Who Is LEGALLY Blonde Today". Cute, huh? The lady and I worked on this project via e-mail while I was en route to Houston at the beginning of the week. THIS would really surprise her and put a BIG smile on her face to start her "Birthday Weekend" off right.
Next, she would head to the airport to pick up Kevin, who was making a special trip in for the big event. Then, 8 of us would head to Marksville, where I had made a reservation at a restaurant called, The Red River Grill. Located in Cajun Country, this upscale restaurant touts some of the finest Louisiana cuisine around. It is quite difficult to surprise Caitlin with her gifts, because she is constantly guessing what they are. She had picked out a fabulous pair of boots a couple of months back, which she knew about and I had put away in my closet. I did, however, get another little something for her as well, that she didn't know about. She has a Chamillia charm bracelet and decided that she liked my idea of collecting Christmas beads to wear around the holiday season. So, I purchased 2 new beads for that bracelet: a Christmas elf and the holly berries. Her dad always get her a little something special just from him; this year he surprised us all by getting her a CAR! This was definitely a secret that was difficult for us to keep, but she would be surprised beyond measure! After dinner, we would head just down the road to the casino. Yep...for some reason, when these kids turn 21, that's where they want to go. Making it home late, we would have to get a little shut eye...Saturday had its own festivities in store too!
The plans for Saturday were to get up early and head to Natchitoches for a full day of the annual Christmas Festival. This quaint little town, paved with brick streets is home to a WONDERFUL Christmas Festival. There are 2 parades on this opening weekend, along with a phenomenal fireworks display over the Cane River and thousands of lights are turned on and begin to twinkle all over the city. There would be vendors set up down by the river with Natchitoches Meat Pies, funnel cakes and many other goodies...along with various live bands that one could tap their toe (or dance out right) to. We would wander through the stores lining Front Street and eat dinner there also. There are some perks to having a birthday around Christmas time!
Sunday, we would all head to church together again and in the afternoon, my mother and sister would come out for dessert and coffee...bearing more gifts for the "Birthday Girl". Although David and Codi and Ryan could not make it in this weekend (Caitlin was sad about this...), it would STILL be a great weekend. And once more I had been successful in separating Caitlin's birthday from Christmas. Yes, I HAD included the Christmas spirit in there, but it had been a totally separate event...and THAT has always been an important thing to do, having a child with a December birthday.
I STILL cannot believe that my "baby" is 21. How did time fly so quickly? Where did it go? I KNOW that I am not getting older (at least inside I don't feel like it). I also know that I have been greatly blessed. Blessed with a wonderful family. There are no people on this earth that I would rather spend these special moments with. And I am so glad that they still like to spend them with me.