I grew up in Europe, where a person’s 18th birthday is a big deal, so my 21st went by largely unnoticed, but once I moved to the U.S., I realized the importance of the 21st birthday and experienced some pretty wild celebrations.
A person’s 21st birthday is a major milestone in some other countries as well. That is the age that every youngster waits for with great longing, because then, they are considered adults, are fully responsible for themselves, can drink alcohol, and are able to vote.
For some parents, it might be a rather emotional and somewhat anxious time, since the 21st birthday signifies the moment when their children are officially not their “babies” any more. For 21St birthdays, big parties (usually including alcohol) are sometimes thrown to celebrate this new, big step into the world of adulthood.
I’ve met many young people who feel that their life has just started at 21. They get overexcited and some go truly wild. I wondered why, when many of them were drinking and attending bars long before they turned 21, by using fake IDs. Ah, well, I guess it’s just the feeling of being finally "legal" and no longer worrying about getting caught.
"Don't think about tomorrow,Don't dream about the distant future,Be happy, and wise,Live and revel while you can.While we speak, time flies away,Like an arrow and a flowing river."
If your child is turning 21, you may feel tempted to warn them and ask them to be careful, even on their birthday card. I understand that and would do the same, but please try to be delicate.
In any case, whether writing to a child or a friend, always remember to make it personal and add a nice memory from your relationship.
Note for parents: It is a good idea that both parents (if present) write their own wishes on the card. The mother has always something special and different to say and wish than the father does, so it will be much more meaningful to your 21-year-old if you add both of your sentiments.
Ladies and Gentlemen (if you wish, you may name here some special people among the attendees), it is difficult to talk about (say her name) without literally praising her, which makes it even more difficult, because she does not like that!(Say her name here), I raise this first (if it is the first official toast) glass of wine to your health and our friendship. Being your friend for so many years has been a wonderful and priceless experience. Knowing that the best is yet to come excites me and makes me want to keep you as my friend forever.Boyfriends have entered and exited our lives, but our families and our friendship have always been constant. I hope that the alcohol will not change that ;-)(Say her name again), now you can finally vote, and even though you don’t care much about politics, I know that being able to vote will give you a special feeling of belonging to society.
(Here, include some wonderful memories you have shared – she will be thrilled to hear them. You may speak in a very simple, conversational style, just as you normally talk to her. Try to include something humorous and emotional, but don’t get into any intimate details that she might not appreciate being shared publicly.
Happy Birthday My Dear Friend!
Sample of funny memory for your birthday toast:
I will never forget our first night out after you got your driver’s license, and you hit the neighbor’s mailbox while backing up. It was dark, and nobody was around. You looked at me, scared to death, and asked: “Should we just leave?” My eyes were wide open with fear as well, so I said, "Let’s go!"
I will never forget that night. Remember when we went back later to fix the mailbox and were so relieved that you hadn’t caused much damage?
My dear (say her name here), on your birthday, I wish that you will stay sober and be in love forever!
The time has come, my friend, to go to that bar (you know which one ;-) with our own IDs (our fake ones have just expired)! I can’t wait to see how that is going to feel. Remember that night when we were out and my neighbor recognized me? And then I was thrown out of the bar when even your valiant rescue attempt failed! You were trying to convince the guy that I was your ‘tween’ brother, but I was half your size, blond, and fair, and YOU, of course, were dark-haired with brown eyes, and two feet taller! You were so drunk, but I admired your loyalty and guts. On your birthday, I wish for us to stay friends forever.
Well, buddy, today your fake ID expired. Aren’t you happy? We can finally go out and have a beer or two (mention a certain place), where we could never go before because they knew our real age. And hey, we can also vote, aren’t you exited?! Even though I know politics is not exactly your passion, still, knowing that you “count” gives you a special feeling, doesn’t it?
In any case, my dear friend, I wish to drink with you during many Happy Hour rounds, to celebrate many birthdays, and I wish to give a toast at your 60Th wedding anniversary. I raise my glass to your health, to your wonderful parents, who gave me the gift of you, my best friend, and to our friendship, forever!
My little pumpkin, your youth and beauty remind me of my own when I was your age. When you put your princess crown on tonight and left for a party, I would like you to know that I was so happy knowing that I gave birth to a beautiful child who grew up to be a wonderful young woman. I remember when you were little, you asked me once if being 21 meant being REALLY old. I guess you know the answer now.
Ladies and Gentlemen and my dear little princess (if you wish, you may name some special people among the attendees), this has to be a dream; I can’t believe that you are already 21 years old (or young, I should say).I see some familiar faces here that have been loyal to you since the very first moment you entered their lives. They were there for you every step of the way, giving you their love and support. That is the true wealth in life – having all these wonderful people around. I know that they stayed because you have such a generous and warm heart and grew up to be a real lady.Mom and I have told you so many times how proud we are of you and what you have achieved, but I have to remind you again that the goodness of your heart was and always will be your most precious gift to us.(Remind her here of some special moments that you shared together.)
Remember when you won the (write the name) best student award? We were so happy for you, and we expressed our happiness clearly. However, the next morning at breakfast, you asked, ”Aren’t you proud of me?” “Of course we are,” your mother and I shouted at the same time. “But you responded, “You never said that you were.” That is when I took your hand, and with Mom standing by and nodding, proclaimed: “My little angel, of course we are proud of your success in school, but we are much more proud of your wonderful heart!”
We gave you a big hug, and it seamed that you understood. Tell us now, did you? Your parents would love to know!
In any case, whether we like it or not, you are an adult now and fully aware of all your duties, rights and responsibilities. I believe that you are well prepared to lead the life of a grown-up young woman, but let me remind you one more time that no matter how old you are, the doors to our home will stay open for you forever.
Happy Birthday our Little Princess!
My dearest princess, it feels as if it were only yesterday when you came into this world as the sweetest baby ever, and yet today we are celebrating your big entrance to adulthood. May God grant you many healthy and happy years, and may He guide you every single step of your way. We were always proud of you, and today might be the best moment to tell you that we could not have dreamed of a better daughter than you have been to us.
Ladies and Gentlemen (if you wish, you may name here some special people among the attendees), I can’t believe that this young man in front of me is already 21 years old (or young, I should say)!I see some great people here, and I must mention that they have been by your side since the beginning. We always taught you that life’s true wealth comes from the good people you know, especially those who have been there for you every step of the way, giving you their love and support. You grew up to be a great young man, showing your tenderness, love and optimistic outlook all along the way.I know that Mom and I have told you many times how proud we are of you and all your achievements, but I must remind you again that to us, the beauty of your heart is and always will be the most precious jewel of all.
(Remind him here of some special moment you shared together.)
Sample of Loving Memory with Your Son:
My son, remember when you won first prize at your piano recital? Your Mom and I were very happy for you, and we took you out for a special dinner that evening. You must not have felt our appreciation, because the next day at lunch, you asked, ”Aren’t you proud of me?” “Of course we are!” your mother and I shouted instantly. Then, you replied, “But you never said so.” That is when Mom took your hand and proclaimed, “Our little darling, of course we are proud of your success, but we are much more proud of the goodness of your heart!”
We gave you a big hug, and you seemed to understand. I would love to know now, did you?
In any case, whether we like it or not, you are an adult now and fully aware of all your duties, rights and responsibilities. I believe that you are well prepared for the life of a grown-up young man, but let me remind you one more time that no matter how old you are, the doors to our home will stay open for you forever.
Happy Birthday Son! We love you!