Today was the first of “the firsts”. You know how after someone passes you suddenly have to celebrate each special occasion without him? Or you go to that favorite restaurant without her? Today, we celebrated our daughter’s 23rd birthday, and she has the dubious distinction of being the “first of ‘the firsts’”. Obviously more firsts are coming – first Father’s Day, first Anniversary, first Christmas – and each one will be difficult in its own way, I’m sure. But for some reason, this first first seems as though it may be the most difficult of all. It is breaking the ice for all the rest to come.
So I gave her what she has been asking for since I can’t remember when – she is now officially “Her Ladyship” and is the proud land owner of 5 square feet of a 90 acre estate “situated on the west shore of Coniston Water” in Cumbria, England. I couldn’t begin to tell you where this is without utilizing a map, but that is hardly the point. She has always considered herself British royalty, which is reflected in our nickname for her (Duchess), and this is as close as she’ll likely ever get. Legitimately, anyway. The title comes with a crest and a certificate declaring her to be a Lady. She can now legally request to be called Lady A, and can even change some documents to reflect her new title. Imagine the cashier at Walmart when she’s handed a credit card with the name Lady A on it. Yes, she will be able to do that.
I wanted her first birthday without her father to be memorable for something besides being the first birthday without her father. I’m fairly certain I pulled it off, and I’m beyond certain that her father approves. I can almost see him bowing before her with a tip of his imaginary hat and saying (in a horrible British accent), “mi’lady”.
So, Duchess… while you can never be a true duchess unless you find yourself a Duke (and even then, I’m not sure how it all works – there seems to be a fairly rigid set of rules regarding the ins and outs of peerage), you will have to settle for just being a Lady.
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