Fifteen years ago, I spent the Fourth of July not planning a barbecue, but expecting a baby.
It was 2000, and we had all survived Y2K. So I focused on giving birth to my millennium child.
The night before our youngest daughter was born, my husband and I rushed to a hospital in Omaha, Neb. It was storming outside, but my daughter arrived without incident the morning of July 6, 2000. It also happened to be my brother-in-law's birthday due to my extraordinary knack for good timing.
So whenever the Fourth of July rolls around, I'm reminded of the day my daughter was born.
The birth of the nation is important, of course. Yet there's nothing quite like giving birth to a child.
Over the years, I've discovered some perks associated with having a millennium baby. For one, I usually have no problem remembering her age. It's 2015, so my daughter turns 15 this year. The older I get, that trick comes in handy.
It's also pretty cool that she was born during a turning point that won't occur for another thousand years. I'm sure I won't be around for the next millennium; therefore, my daughter's life, though amazing in and of itself, is also a memento of the historic occasion.
However, we did miss one opportunity to capitalize on the year of her birth. In 2000, the Harlem Globetrotters offered free admission for a lifetime to all children born that year. I never registered online. So when the Globetrotters came to Columbus last year, we had to pay full price. I could have kicked myself 10 times for that one.
But we've had a lot of fun celebrating my daughter's birthday over the years. Her first birthday party was held at Jeepers, an indoor fun zone in my husband's hometown of Albany, N.Y. A few years later, we had a water party in our backyard. At that time, we were living in Omaha, Neb., and invited all the neighborhood children. Then another year, we had a Mexican-themed party in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where we lived before moving to Columbus. The kids sure had fun beating that piñata.
One year, my daughter wanted to have her birthday party at school like some of the other kids. So I showed up in May with pizza and a birthday cake, even though it was two months early. She celebrated her birthday twice that year.
These days, she is more independent, traveling to Virginia every summer with her grandmother. She has celebrated several of her birthdays away from home surrounded by other relatives. We missed out on the fun.
Well, this year is different. Not only is she home for her birthday, but my brother-in-law and his daughter are also visiting, along with a few other friends.
We'll all be together for the Fourth of July, and we have a lot to celebrate.
Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.