“You know, last year we played lacrosse on my birthday—and we lost,” my daughter commented.

The difference between last year and this year is stark.  There is no rushing about to a lacrosse game (or three) for her (or her brother).  There is no rushing to a garden center to grab plants in the few hours in between practices.  There is no hurrying to get flowers into their pots before we drive for an hour and a half to get ready to play.

Even though it’s Sunday, there is no church service to fit in.  In stark contrast to my last three years, there are no home visits for incoming exchange students, no calls to make, no emails to write, no potential hosts to check in with.  There is no pressure of deadlines to find places as the clock ticks wildly.

Today, it’s just her birthday–her 15th.   

We ended up running a couple errands, which are infinitely easier and more fun when time is not an issue.  Since we have not really been much of anywhere for so long now, ‘running errands’ turns out to be a lot more fun than it used to be. 

Best of all, we even had time to play with a litter of puppies that friends of ours have.  (Yes, that was every bit as fun as it sounds!)   

We ended the day with a traditional birthday supper and opening of gifts.  We topped her day off with drive in search of wildlife—and saw a young fox and two deer.

The silver lining is that gift of a slowdown.  She didn’t mind being at a lacrosse game last year (a win would have been better, of course).  This year had a different feel for sure… but largely just doing “whatever” together turned out to be a really great way to mark her special day.