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Baby Ciel with Mom

Today my beautiful Ciel celebrates 28 years on the planet. Four 7-year cycles, there’s no more question that this baby of mine is fully an adult. Of course she’s been self-sufficient for nearly a decade, so there  hasn’t been any ‘question’ in years. But it  hits me a little more deeply with each passing birthday.

Of course by the time I was 28 I was raising a 7-year old and running a store. Since Ciel still has the luxury of sleeping past 9 – without little fingers prying her eyelids open – I can’t help still viewing her as somehow younger. (But don’t get me wrong, I am infinitely relieved that she didn’t follow the generational pattern of early motherhood. I’m a big fan of letting the 20s be all about self-exploration.)

Ciel is entering what astrologers call her Saturn Return – a time of transition, big changes and perhaps a period of reckoning. Many people experience significant life changes during this period (between about 27 1/2 and 29). I know I did. I got married, got pregnant and had my second child by the time I was halfway through 29.

Some people say it’s a time when you discover your true destiny. Not sure if I quite buy that – but I’ve definitely noticed that for a lot of folks these years bring some significant changes.

Well, in a few weeks Ciel is moving back down to the Bay Area, where she will (presumably) begin working in her chosen field – public health. So that by itself is a pretty big transition. But these next couple of years might bring a few more changes than career building. And it’s only natural at this age – even without all the astrological mumbo jumbo (that’s the scoffers on my shoulder, I really don‘t think its mumbo jumbo!)

I’m nowhere near my second Saturn Return yet, but I’m also feeling the stirring of big changes. Maybe I get to experience a bit of a mom Saturn Return? A mini cataclysm? Who knows?

I’m blessed this year to have the chance to share this special day with my first-born. We’ve always made a big deal of birthdays, I like the idea of honoring that day of one’s birth. When the girls were young I made it a point to take that day off work on each daughter’s birthday so I could spend it with her. I’d let her take the day off school, and we’d go do something fun. This was a real treat for them since usually I spent so much time at work.

Cakes, parties – we’d do it up almost every year. (That’s kind of my MO – any excuse for a party!)

Then she moved away from home. That first birthday (her 19th) we traveled down to the Bay Area to celebrate with her.  We took her out to a Persian restaurant and did up a fun birthday celebration.

Since then, I’ve only managed to spend one birthday with Ciel – so today is special. We’re planning a spa moment this afternoon, with professional foot massages – something we NEVER do. And tonight will be dinner, friends, cake, wine and celebration.

A celebration of Ciel. Words could never express how much she means to me. She is one of my greatest teachers and a source of my greatest joy. I am so grateful for this past year – I think of it as the Year of Ciel. As I wrote the other day, I’ve spent more time with her in 2011 than I had since she left home. What an amazing gift.

Ciel last February during our adventure in Bali

We were having a great time!

This week I may write some stories about Ciel – those childhood years, the tumultuous adolescence, her ill-fated Peruvian adventure. And of course the story continues to unfold.

Today, on the day of her birth, I thought I’d post an essay I wrote several years ago. It starts out with Ciel’s birth story (she wasn’t so sure she wanted to be here when she arrived!) and weaves in the birthing experience with ruminations on what it means to mother. I was proud of this essay at the time – now I’d probably make some changes. If you’d like to read it, just click here.