Daughter Claire 1Turning 21 years of age here in New Zealand is significant and is commonly referred to as the ‘coming of age’.

Society recognises it as the final transition into adulthood, the apron strings are handed over, and they now get to own their own key to the door to come and go as they please – officially.

Celebration festivities are more buoyant than the norm compared to other birthdays and generally includes a coming together of family clans and friends to share in reflective conversation, beverage, folly and joy to mark the milestone. The ritual for the male to consume a yard glass of ale or the female to down 21 shots of fire water to then empty gut contents where ever its spewed does a lot to bridge friendship expectations and cement bond closeness. Let alone raise eyebrows from elders secretly grinning internally that we have all been there and done that.

Daughter Claire’s (LC) moment arrived on 28 June 2014 (although her birthday was actually on the 30th).

Purple was her colour growing up and it was the colour of balloons, lights, hanging lanterns and dress up toys for the photo booth. I’m sure I heard Princes’ rendition of ‘Purple Rain’ echo out from the speakers during the course of the evening, or was I swooped up in the atmosphere buzz and only imagined it!

Daughter Claire's 21st Birthday CakeThe circular cake with icing shaped into a map of the world and decorated with memento’s of LC’s footprint travels on the planet was just beautiful. A pinnacle of experiences to symbolize the characteristics of the person she has become. It was amplified by speech givers contributing yarns of personal affiliation as to how LC has impacted on their lives, interrupted with embarrassing stories that rounded out the importance to have a sense of fun living life.

And then as quickly as it had arrived, it left through the last party goers vacating the premise and the lights being flicked off. You wondered whether you too had consumed the equal amount to a yard glass or knocked back 21 shots and that tomorrow was going to be a seedy day of body harm and hangover.

I guess we never come of age do we, no matter how aged we grow?

Never did get to give LC the key to the caravan door neither.

Daughter Claire2But hey, I believe the door should always be open for your kids. More importantly, never locked.

And then perhaps, that is the key.