I have a very clear memory of the day I turned 25. Far from being in celebratory mood, I felt old. I told my (now ex) mother-in-law that I felt old and she sneered at me and called me stupid (she never liked me very much!)
In hindsight, 'old' was not the right word. It was a feeling of childhood being well and truly over. I now fell into the 25-35years age category. There was no more hiding from the fact that I was an adult - with responsibilites. To combat these feelings, I went out into my garden and flew a kite.
In terms of kite flying success it was a big fail - but it did reconnect me to my inner child. I like to think that even now in my 45-55years age category, I have retained that childlike sense of fun and wonder and call upon it when I want to or need to.
This weekend, my eldest daughter had her 25th birthday. We spent a lot of time together running, shopping, watching a performance of Sleeping Beauty by the Vienna Festival Ballet (unbelievably well defined buttocks and thighs perfectly displayed in white man tights), barbecuing, playing online quizzes and finally enjoying Indian take-out. It wasn't hard for me to recognise the signs that betrayed the fact that she was feeling much the same as I had all those years ago. Childhood was finished and adulthood had her well and truly in its grasp. Unlike me, she was not yearning to feel childlike and free. A kite and a blustery day would not have worked any magic on her. Instead she wanted to wholeheartedly embrace adulthood.
In many ways, my daughter was born an adult. She has always had wisdom beyond her years and a sensible attitude that quietly spoke of maturity and responsibility. She and her long term boyfriend have their own home and she has settled into a teaching career. So what was it that she was missing from her perfect picture of adulthood?
When she started talking about weddings, it was very easy to get carried away with it all. I practically had her packed off to an exotic beach location for her 'I dos' before her boyfriend had even had the chance for the 'will yous'. As ready as my daughter is for a wedding and married life, her boyfriend simply isn't.
There is no doubt that they are committed to each other but sadly, there is a huge incompatibility of viewpoint when it comes to marriage. It breaks my heart a little bit to see my beautiful daughter denied her greatest wish and her dream day but I also have respect for her boyfriend in that he won't be pressured into doing something he does not feel 100% convinced about. He has a very logical, matter of fact approach to life and I do believe that eventually the positives of becoming husband and wife will tip the scales in favour of marriage.
In the meantime, I hope he can forgive me for being a little too enthusiastic with my premature wedding planning. Most of all, I hope my daughter can wait with good grace and fully appreciate and enjoy the wonderful life they have together now.
When the time does come, I will be ready for my mother-of-the-bride role and play it with the greatest happiness.