many of my writings, I've discussed my "three teenage daughters."
It was a neat, concise way of referring to the people who made me
what I am todaydeeply in debt. Seriously, though, they made
me a dad and added a new level of purpose, joy and relentless anxiety
to my life. Well, my eldest and most expensive daughter recently nullified
that succinct phrasing by turning 20. (The anxiety hasn't let up.)
For the past 19 years, we've observed each of her birthdays by throwing
elaborately-themed celebrations with designer cakes (usually featuring
"horsies"), multiple trips to the local party store and (sometimes)
frantic do-it-yourself plumbing in the aftermath of a slumber party.
One of her more memorable parties was a birthday fiesta when she was
a toddler. We had maracas, mariachi music, Tex-Mex food and Tex-Mex
food. (I'm pretty sure I was just trying to re-create my favorite
restaurant at home.)
The highlight of the party (other than the Tex-Mex food) was a piñata
that was apparently constructed with bullet-proof armor. After I fumbled
around with a box cutter, my dad pulled out what he called a "real
knife" for some piñata modifications to keep the kids from ruining
their rotator cuffs. (I was able to grab most of the Snickers bars.)
We hosted another "little girl" party at a local horse stable where
the kids rode ponies, and I spent most of my time trying to keep everyone
from eating hay and ruining their footwear.
Our greatest success might have been when my daughter turned 18 and
we managed to pull off a surprise party that included her high school
friendswhom we had to invite in secret by creepily messaging
them on Instagram. Oh, the horror!
She actually loved the party, and my consolation for the expense was
that it was held at Fuzzy's Taco Shop. Our daughter seemed truly appreciative
and impressed by our effortsfor a minute or two.
Since she's now off at college, we thought we might avoid a birthday
party this year, but we caved when she texted us to request "another
cool cake," followed by a manipulative heart emoji. Our first mistake
was allowing her to handle ordering the cake, which cost roughly the
same as my latest round of dental work.
The "cool cake" quickly morphed into a birthday picnic brunch at a
lakeside park (near a coffee shopof course) with some of her
college friends. The cake was accompanied by an extravagant fruit
tray and a large arrangement of "the Lord's" Chick-N-Minis from Chick-fil-A.
She even invited me and my wife to attendas long as we kept
our distance and pretended to be groundskeepers.
When the party was over and I had finished pulling weeds, she gave
us a big hug and thanked us for making her feel special, which made
the whole thing worth it.
Since I no longer have three teenage daughters, I guess I'll start
calling them my "three mostly-grown daughters" or my "three semi-adult
daughters." And maybe they'll forgive me if I slip once in a while
and call them my three little girls.