Our children's birthday's are always a special occasion but the all-important 21st is one of those treasured milestones we tend to put a lot of emphasis in. It's the official end of their childhood as they walk the last 3 years through the final corridor to find the key to the door that will lead them to their destiny.
January 8th 1986 was the day Daniel was born. As soon as my eyes opened this morning that was the first thing that came to my mind. All those memories from 21 years ago came rushing back. Today would have been his 21st birthday. In a kinder world I would have been busy running around doing all the errands. Well ...maybe not - that would most likely have been on the weekend and perhaps today we would have just had a quiet dinner to celebrate the official day. Either way...none of that happened.
I had his friends up here yesterday to commemorate his 21st birthday. Brett, Grundy, Dane, Tyrone, Greg and Gatley came with a couple of really stunning girlfriends. It's been a little over a year since they last visited. Sometimes its easy to forget 'that' other life because living in the North now means I don't have all those constant reminders. Seeing them all together like this again was emotive in overload ...a huge flush of history came flooding back into my mind. On one hand it was good to see them again - on the other it was an ominous reminder of happier times.
The boys wanted to give the ET a wash. The ET Pulsar was a project car Danny had rebuilt from two car wrecks. He had sold the car only a couple of months prior to his death but as luck would have it, I was able to buy it back just a couple of days before the funeral.
It was and always will be the epitome of determination in my opinion. It is a highly complex machine - one of a kind - and a symbol of who Daniel was and what he could achieve.
Anyway, after being locked up for over a year the ET was well and truly in need of a wash. There had been mice able to get inside too which mortified me when I made the discovery a couple of months ago. Thank God they had not done too much damage. I've resorted to baiting the shed since then so I'm not anticipating the same thing happening again.
Watching these lads cleaning this car made it obvious to me this wasn't just any old car to them either. This was as much a part of Danny as any of us would ever feel. It was like each and every one of them was deep in thought as they worked on the area they were cleaning. Every so often I'd witness a solemn expression and wonder what it was that was playing in the mind...what memory are you calling back? I didn't ask though. It seemed more respectful to leave them to their thoughts.
It was a sad day but at the same time I could not think of a better way to spend it than with these amazing young adults.
Today Ashley came for lunch. She is as gorgeous as ever. I will in no way ever come to terms with the fact that I will never have her as my daughter in law. I'm quite convinced that she and Danny had something special that would have stood the test of time. It simply will never be - but she will always be special to me...a part of a time in our lives when I think Daniel was the happiest he'd ever been.
She has shown me today what a magical young woman she is. I really can't elaborate on this because the surprise will be ruined, but what I will say is this; Who ever said kids today are self absorbed and thoughtless don't know the kids I know. I'm so proud of each and every one of them ...I know Daniel would be too.
That's all - that's how I spent my dead son's 21st Birthday.