Mary at (finally!) 18

“I want to do something big for my 18th birthday,” Mary said.

While I imagined a weekend away or a nice restaurant, she explained:

“Like a party with the whole family, with pizza! And a pie! And I want Heather to have her baby on my birthday!”

Like a typical adult, she couldn’t take off time on her actual birthday because of work and school and papers due at midnight. Still, her roommates took good care of her.

So we met at the park on the day after her birthday to fulfill all her extravagant desires. Except the baby. Sorry.

8 days overdue and still smiling.

We were trying to be cautious about Covid, but when the temperature dipped below 20° we retreated to Ben and Sammie’s cozy little house.

Where Fritzie helped open all the presents and we gave Mary a single candle to blow out.

In response to Erik’s ‘what-do-you-want-for-your-birthday?’ text she replied:

I wanna learn how to drive a boat this summer
And also back up a trailer
And also change the oil in my car
And the names of all the tools on the workbench
And how to invest
And do taxes
And drive a stick shift

Needless to say, no one is saying, “I can’t believe Mary’s eighteen.”

It’s more like, “Well, this girl who goes to college, works in a hospital, runs a thriving business all summer and has a clear plan for life can finally sign for her own flu shot and vote in the next election.”

I won’t lie. I miss her at home. At times, I’ve mourned the lost opportunities of high school…. Yet, she’s so happy at BYU; so kind and funny and gentle with her friends and family. She’s gained a poise and confidence she never had in high school.

And she’s grown up in the most lovely way possible.

Darling girl, you are more than we ever expected and better than we every imagined. Happy birthday! And you can still share a party with the baby next year.



  1. Heidi Barton

    January 28, 2022

    Congratulations Mary! It’s been so fun watching you grow up, and I hope my girls turn out as awesome as you! Happy birthday!

  2. Anne Marie

    January 28, 2022

    What a beautiful, intelligent young woman! She is incredible! More radiant than ever . I love the list of things she wants to learn. Happy birthday to your darling Mary!

  3. Ellen Patton

    January 31, 2022

    I’ll teach her how to drive a stick shift! I learned to drive an orange VW bus!

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