Dear Kid,

I remember reading somewhere that people spend their childhood trying to grow up to get to their 21st birthday and the rest of their lives trying to get back to being 21. It was probably said better than that, but you get the idea.

Happy 21st birthday! DearKidLoveMom.comSome people consider 21 the age a person becomes an adult. You can vote—oh, wait, you can do that at 18. You can join the military—no, that’s 18 too. You can sign legal documents—again, 18.

I know. It must be that you can no longer be covered on our medical insurance—nope, that’s 26. It’s probably that you can no longer call me “mommy”—nah, that’s a forever title.

So what’s the big deal about 21? Oh, right. Alcohol.

I remember the joy and pride of being able to order an adult beverage with the certainty that your ID is legit and you can legally purchase whatever you want. Although—trust me on this one—it’s even better to be carded when you’re 35.

I also remember the joy and pride (not) of my first Really Great Hangover which I will not tell you about (except to say it was in close proximity to my 21st birthday and I hope you are smart enough never to enjoy that experience).

At 21 you are also old enough to gamble, buy a gun, and get a concealed carry permit. Try not to mix any or all of the above.

So what’s so special about being 21? Check the mirror. You’re the Special.

Happy 21st, kiddo.

Love, Mom