Our Youngest Turns 21 ( Poem by Polly Castor)

Our Youngest Turns 21 ( Poem by Polly Castor)

Our Youngest Turns 21 Poem by Polly Castor

Our Youngest Turns 21

When you were
ready to be delivered
the hospital was so full
they were lined up
in labor out in the hall
and our doctor,
knowing I worked in the
construction industry,
whisked us away into
an unfinished birthing room
with conduit hanging
from the ceiling like spaghetti
and walls partially tiled
with large clumps of mortar
splatted all over the floor.

We understood clearly
for the first time
the sacred sanctuary
of the rough stable
for Mary and Joseph
in Bethlehem,
separated from all the din,
cacophony and calamity,
embracing instead
hallowed, humble quietude
to welcome you
in the middle of the night
overjoyed by the blessing,
hearts bursting with gratitude
for your safe and healthy arrival–
you that I knew was my last.

We deeply,
intuitively realized
we needed you in our world
but after 21 years
of being with you day to day
I don’t really have words to say
how important you are to me
as a daughter, yes,
but especially as
a monumental friend.

More than anyone I’ve ever known,
you understand me, accept me, and care,
and I mirror that right back to you,
amplified, as best I can.
This relationship is so precious,
and I don’t take it for granted.
The understanding part
is the remarkable bit,
that I never really had before you
and having one person in the world
that does, is such a springboard
for possibility, such a comfort
and confirmation of worth,
such a boon, to say nothing of all
the superlatives I could apply to you
on your own (in no relation to me) –
enthusiastically curious, frugal,
independent, industrious,
creative, quirky, and inventive,
a lifelong learner, an abstract thinker,
authentically genuine and wise –
I can’t thank God enough
for the gift of you.

You were always fully your own,
and only ours, briefly, on loan,
but oh, we are so glad to know you,
and delight in sharing time with you,
and we couldn’t be more proud
of who you are becoming.

To like, and not only to love,
and to want to continue
adventuring in life together,
this is the best outcome
one could hope for
and you give it to me
over and over again
easily enriching
every single day.

Thank you for being
exactly who you are.
We’re so glad
you came to be with us!
Here’s to another
great trip around the sun!
We love you!


by Polly Castor

(also read the poem from her 19th birthday here)

IMG_0279 - Version 2  IMG_1400 - Version 2  IMG_3896  IMG_5861  IMG_9815  IMG_9647 - Version 2  IMG_3165  IMG_3944
IMG_9604  IMG_4892  IMG_9566  IMG_4059  IMG_4001 - Version 2

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Maria 6 years ago

    Such a moving poem, Polly! I felt every word of it! She’s so beautiful – inside and out!

  2. Gloria 6 years ago


  3. Mary Beth Williams 6 years ago

    Soo profoundly moving. Bless you for sharing this. I feel the same way about my daughter turns 21 on June 17. Thank you for putting this into words I’m going to share it with her on her birthday !! I always tell her she’s the best thing that ever happened to me and it’s totally true !

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Send this to friend