Saturday, April 2, 2011

Home Again

We picked up our girl from the airport at 7:40 this morning. She and her South Africa crew all looked fresh and awake and cheerful, definitely not as if they had just spent an entire day traveling. I am always so taken aback by how beautiful I find my children. I see it anew whenever I have been away from them. So much life force in them. God, they make me happy. When all is going well with them, it is the deepest peace.

So we had a birthday cake set up and flowers and wrapped presents for our newly-minted 17-year-old, including a gift from her cousins Alexis and Danielle that arrived in the mail on her birthday. Our girl deposited her bags in the hallway and went straight to the gifts!

We didn't light the candles and sing happy birthday right away because it was still only 9 a.m. But we did eat for breakfast the seafood ceviche my husband made last night as a welcome home treat for his daughter. After the gift opening and the eating, my girl immediately settled herself on the couch, eager to end her two weeks of being electronically unplugged. She is now scrolling through literally hundreds of happy birthday messages on Facebook, reading long missives sent to her inbox, clicking links, laughing to herself, reading some of the messages out loud for our enjoyment. She will be there for a long while, I suspect, reconnecting. She doesn't even care that her mother is buzzing around, fondly snapping pictures. Those fingers move crazy fast.

At around 11 a.m., the birthday girl looked up and said, "Is it time to eat cake yet?" She wanted to light the candles, and why not, since she is the master of all things cake related in our house. Then she conducted us as we sang Happy Birthday, closed her eyes and sucked in a breath as she made a wish, and blew out all the candles, cheering for herself when she was done. My wish, unspoken, was that she would get her wish, because it seemed from the way she held herself when she was making it to be deep and heartfelt.

Later she went out and had a late lunch and hung out with friends, then came home and ate more cake with another friend who came by to hear all the stories. This friend is the daughter of a South African mother, and she spends summers there, so she knew whereof my daughter spoke. Here they are, indulging my camera.

They stayed up chatting and laughing and catching up on their two long weeks apart until well past the hour when my jet lagged daughter should have been awake. And then at a certain point in the evening, she just crashed. One minute she was talking to us, and the next, she was stretched out and dreaming. Ah yes. I missed this. Welcome home, my sweet girl.


  1. "When all is going well with them, it is the deepest peace."

    Angella, so very true.



  2. ps, And when all is not going well with them, it is a knife cutting into the mother's heart....

  3. Yay for joyous birthdays! Glad she is home safe and sound. :)

  4. Oh Angella, this post made me soooooo happy! I am so glad that your girl has arrived home safe and sound and that she looks so incredibly happy and healthy! I can feel your joy through the lens of your camera. I am glad that she didn't grumble about the photos:) What a fabulous celebration, both the homecoming and the birthday! Funny that we both have seventeen year old daughters. I actually love this age. Much of the "hormonal" changes have settled down a bit and they are just so lovely!

    Wish your daughter a very happy Birthday again, for me:) Enjoy spending the weekend just being around her.(as she reintegrates herself into the cyber world! How did we ever survive without it?) By the way, what kind of cake did you make? It is lovely!

    Much love and big hugs,

  5. Happy birthday and welcome back beautiful baker, you bring joy to so many hearts because you are so loved. "Mean people suck"

    A mother's heart is a wonderful place. Thank you for sharing yours, Angella. It reminds me of a special one we once shared.

  6. I let out a sigh of my own, knowing your daughter is back and safe. Isn't that crazy?
    Here is always my wish, whether on candles or stars:
    More of this.
    So far, so good.
    I hope for your daughter more of it all and more of it all and

  7. Oh, what fun and what beauty! Thank you for sharing the day with us -- and happy birthday to your daughter.

  8. Happy Birthday to you beautiful baby! You are raising such great kids! Argh inspiration!

  9. I can't believe how two weeks has passed already and she is home again, you must be overflowing happy. I hope she gets her wish too and a happy birthday homecoming. and thanks for the pictures, lovely.

  10. Could that girl be any more precious?! I think not!!
    I love the delighted look on her face, as she's lighting the candles.
    I'm so happy that you have her back now!
    Happy belated Birthday to her.

    Happy birthday to youuuuuuuu ♥
    Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuu ♥
    Happy birthday Angela's daughter ♥
    Happy birthday to youuuuuuuuuuu ♥
    And many mooooooooooooooooore ♥

    Sending love ~

  11. T., yes, oh yes.

    ellen, me too! thanks!

    Debra W, your comment just focused me on the fact that the worst of the teens years are behind us! ahhh, now i can say it wasn't bad at all. we are lucky! love and hugs.

    Bruce, your goddaughter is 17! wow. love to you.

    Ms. Moon, not crazy at all. i'm touched, and i think your wish for her is wonderful! thank you.

    Elizabeth, thank you, dear friend.

    Ms. A, fingers crossed! bless you.

    Dierdre, yes, she's home safe, with lots of stories. It went quickly there, but took much longer here. thanks.

    Gabriele, ahh, sweet music. thank you for the song! hugs.