My oldest daughter turned 18 last weekend, and I am struggling with the fact that she is now legally an adult.
This is a time in her life when nothing changes at exactly the same time that everything changes. It is both confusing and frightening all at once, and yes, tears have been shed.
Only by me, though. She is neither confused, nor frightened. Among other things, she just has her eyes on finally getting that tattoo, and is excited to vote in the presidential election.
The definition of adult is: having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature. No, no and NO. Full size...maybe. Fully strong? I think not. We don't know yet because she hasn't been put to the test. Mature? Well, yes, most of the time anyway. I personally didn't mature till...umm...recently, if that.
After my initial meltdown, where I pretty much cried all day, I spent the weekend flashing back over those 18 years. The two days in the hospital after she was born, watching scary movies in my dark room for hours, as I cuddled and held my new baby, and experienced that pure love for the first time in my life. Later, my little Disney Princess. The stage when she wore those cute little red cowboy boots and the denim skirt. All the time. Wearing a wedding costume and having a ceremony with Domino, our good dog.
The bar is raised pretty high for any man who wants to marry my daughter, after Domino. He was the best.
Getting her ear pierced yes, just one at the mall. She screamed so loud we had to leave, and my friend Olga took her back the next day to have the other one pierced. My kids were always better with other people than with me. That still applies, actually.
Over the years, there has been lots and lots of shopping. I remember when she was two years old, pushing her in a stroller at the mall, and she was fussy. I told her then that if she was any daughter of mine, she was going to have to learn to be a better shopper.
Ah, hindsight. If I could only take back those words today. Both my children have surpassed me in the mastery of shopping.
Over the years, and even now, the times on the couch when she surrenders to the day and lies next to me so I can tickle her back. Quiet times in the car when I would drive her to school at 6:15 in the morning, and she would catch another 10 minutes of sleep before her day would start in full force. That was before the drivers license.
Pancakes at breakfast. Lunch out together. Pageant stuff. Voice lessons and dance lessons. School orientations, pep rallies, crying over boys and griping about girls. Science projects, school parties and long, sweet summers.
And now we have applications for college and career talk, that is mixed in with the drama of a typical high school senior girl.
She's a good girl, and I am blessed. I will confess to excessive worry over the years as I recalled my own turbulent childhood, and I am grateful for her good sense and grace.
Still, I was glad when my best friend gave her some cautionary advice: Remember honey, at 18 you can no longer be tried as a juvenile!