Whilst thinking of her throughout the day, it made me reflect on my own 21st birthday. Mine too was rather different from a traditional 21st party.
I got pregnant at 20. I wasn't drunk when it happened, seeing as I had never had as much as a sip of alcohol. It wasn't a one-night-stand gone wrong. I was a Uni student with virtually no money to my name, but it was completely intentional.
I had gotten married less than two months earlier to my sweetheart, Anthony, and after that long five weeks, we decided we were sick of the joy and spontaneity that comes with being newlyweds - we needed a baby. Everyone knows nothing brings a couple closer than sleep deprivation, crying, and vomit.
And that was just my pregnancy.
Being young and stupid, we couldn't contain our excitement when that second line appeared on the pregnancy test and we called our families straight away. I know the 'done' thing is to wait until after the twelve week mark when the risk of miscarriage is greatly lessened, but we didn't really consider that as something that would happen to us (see - stupid) so we announced it immediately. I gloated that I had no morning sickness and felt great.
Then at the six week mark, what was up until then a beautiful, developing baby inside my belly, turned into an alien trying to destroy me via my up-chuck reflex. I was vomiting multiple times a day and just wanted to sleep constantly.
I could only stand the smell of mandarins, oranges, and carrots. I vividly recall going to do a weekly grocery shop and walking past the Deli aisle in the supermarket holding an orange up to my nose so I wouldn't vomit. I left the shop with what was supposed to be seven days worth of food - six kilos of oranges, two kilos of mandarins, two kilos of carrots, lemonade, and juice ice blocks.
Society frowns upon men who leave their pregnant wives within three months of marriage so it was shortly after this point we made an important purchase - an X-Box. Seeing as I was going to bed at 7pm each night it seemed only fair Anthony had some company.
Whilst pregnant, I celebrated a milestone; I turned twenty-one. Like most twenty-one year olds, I too celebrated my coming into adulthood with my head in a toilet bowl. It wasn't senseless amount of alcohol that inflicted my vomiting though - it was my first born child.
Anthony was fairly useless when it came to morning sickness and I would find myself yelling for him to;
"Go away! You aren't helping me if you vomit in my hair while you are supposed to be holding it back!"
I praise him for his efforts, but he has a ridiculously weak stomach when it comes to the sound and smell of vomit. Probably not a good sign when you are months from expecting a baby and cleaning all manor of bodily fluids become a part of everyday life.
It was around this point in time that it hit me how different my life was from many of my peers. I was still a full-time Uni student, I still worked part time in a supermarket, but I was a wife and mother. My child was yet to take it's first real breath, but I was a mother nonetheless. These were the things I had hoped for when people asked me the big question;
"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
My answer was always;
"I think I want to be a teacher, but most of all I want to be a wife and a mother."
So here I was - just turned twenty-one and what I had hoped for had already fallen in my lap. I guess there isn't a better 21st present than that right :)