Turning 21 when your (almost) 51

Turning 21 when your (almost) 51

(insert giggles) I think my title is funny. :)  Some may wonder has she truly gone crazy and yes, I truly have, but it is all in fun and games!  

This blog is going to be all about my daughter Graci who in fact just turned 21 years old the other day!  (I'm the almost 51 year old).  But it was fun turning 21 with her. 

What do you do when you daughter asks you and your husband to travel to New Orleans, LA for her and her bff's 21st birthday (and 3 other girls).  You say  "heck yeah, we will be there".  We love celebrating and we love celebrating Graci.  I would give anything to be with her always and spend the time that I get to, I treasure beyond measure.   See she thought it would be hilarious to go away to school in Alabama, 14 hours away from her mom.  So, I treasure our time together a little more.  

Graci is special, she's has the biggest and brightest smile of anyone.  Her eyes light up every room she walks into.  Her genuine and unfiltered goofiness is remembered by all and she is always the life of the party.  When she used to play cub volleyball I remember the mom's would always tell me that Graci was such a joy to have on the team because she was always smiling and she was always lifting others up.  As a mother, we know hearing this makes our hearts swell. Graci is dedicated and a very hard worker. She knows what she wants and she will research the crap out of anything to know what she wants and why.  Now, don't get me wrong, Graci isn't without faults (she's pretty close to perfect).  Graci could really learn time management a little better, she could study a lot harder, she could maybe not party so hard as a college student (I know how dare her), and she could manage her money way better then she does.  So see, even she's not perfect.

What a lot of people I think forget about Graci, is that she lost a lot when she was young.  Graci was just 4 y/o when her brother died and she was 6 y/o when her daddy died and just turned 7 when her Uncle Seth died.  Think about that and think about how scary and uncertain all that can be for a child of that age.  We as adults didn't know how to process let alone care for our child and help her process.  Then I had to do it all alone as a widow and single mom.  

The gravity of our losses have never gone unnoticed in our lives, but for most of the general people out there, it has gone unnoticed. Kids are resilient yes, but to think that they do not suffer and they suffer again at different ages as they grow, it's hard guys...really really hard.  BUT...Graci is a strong one.  We always celebrate our people that have died and we always honor their memories.  Graci has always been an integral part of all that happens when it comes to their memories.  Graci unfortunately has lost most everyone in her daddies family and for that it's sad.  I've heard people say or I've been told or she's heard people say "Wow...Graci gets this or that" or "Graci has everything" or "Wow...Graci will be rich".  I will tell everyone to STOP right there and watch what you think or even speak out loud regarding that.  Graci has lost almost everything in her life.  The extra "stuff" or the "cushion" or the "ability to go away to school" was not handed to her out of spoiledness it was and has been given to her out of death and grief.  She knows what she has and she knows why she has the stuff she has.  She also knows that she's the one that has had to work the hardest to get where she's at.  Her mental being has been her biggest fight and she's done it with grace.  SO...no, it hasn't been easy for Graci.  

People also don't realize that Graci (and many others I know), was set to graduate in the year 2020 when Covid hit.  Yes...so her birthday in 2020 was her very last day of her high school career. She didn't know it at the time, it was supposed to just be a temporary solution to close down for a bit, well May came and her remainder of her Senior year was gone.  She didn't get to graduate like normal kids did, she didn't get a lot. Graci then started her Freshman year of college 14 hours away from home knowing not a single soul there during covid.  All classes were online and they had lock downs for 2 weeks at one point.  During that time, we decided it was best if she come  home for a week and get her grounding back and focus back on track.  She never skipped a beat with it and is now entering her Senior year at Alabama.  Some people asked us why we would still send her there when classes were online; the answer is simple, "why not"?  How do we teach our kids to grow and excel if we keep them home and protected? Is it right for everyone no, but it was right for us and for Graci.  She is EXCELLING at what she's doing and what she's believes she wants to do.  She has the goals and the ambition to accomplish anything.  She is a true warrior. (if anyone reading this knew her daddy Jack, you know where she gets all her drive from). 

So, when we went down to NOLA for her 21st, we celebrated and we celebrated hard.  I don't want to be 21 again. I don't want to go to Bourbon Street again (anytime soon anyways).  We had an amazing time, the girls are funny, they are kind, they are honest, and they are just good clean fun.  We ate amazing food, we laughed at lots of crazy stuff going on around us and we walked many miles listening to five 21 year olds tell us hilarious stories.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I could and I relished it more because she's my only one and I will never get that opportunity with my little guy Garret.  

The crazy girls are currently still on Spring break, so they flew up to NYC for the remainder of the week.  I'm not sure how they are functioning as I came down with a nasty cold the day before leaving NOLA.  I am trying to get better for St. Paddy's day as that is one of our favorite holidays to celebrate!  

To close this blog out...I really just wanted to give a HUGE shoutout to my girl, Graci and tell her HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY and cheers to the best years coming ahead for you!  I am the proudest to be your mom and I know you will continue to do amazing things, go amazing places, and continue to be true to who you are and who you want to be!!!  You have an army of angels that will be guiding your every step of the way!  Now go show the world who you are (safely of course and don't forget about me & Chantz) 




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