It has taken a whole year. At 12:01 a.m. this morning, my granddaughter, Julia, was no longer ten years old. She turned eleven. I know it has taken 365 days, because every time I have seen Julia since her last birthday, she has asked, "Do you know how many days it is until my birthday?"
Julia reminds me of Linda, an old friend from my wild Tallahassee and Atlanta days. "You know, my birfday's coming soon," she would say. Linda was a grown woman with a teenage son, but she pronounced "birthday" as though she were still five years old and missing a tooth. Sweet. Made me smile inside.
One year, I just had to ask. "Hey, Linda," I said. "Why do you keep reminding your friends about your birthday so much?"
I sneaked a look at Linda's face, hoping I hadn't said too much. I wouldn't have hurt her feelings for the world. But no, she moved a step closer, her round face open, brown eyes crinkled around the edges. "You wouldn't want to forget my birfday. It would make you feel bad. I know it would! So, I'm making sure that doesn't happen!
Smart. Smart, thoughtful, kind and fun. That's my friend, Linda. That's Julia, too. And, like Linda, Julia's birthday is the highlight of her year. Julia is a girly-girl: pretty, feminine and with a natural born sense of style. But she has an intuitive, spiritual side, too, that makes me think she has a very wise old soul.
It's a grandmother's prerogative, even a step-grandmother, to exercise her bragging rights. The video that follows is a montage of photos of Julia alone and with other members of the family. It's sugary sentimental, so don't watch unless you want to go, "Awww."