My daughter is 18 today. Now, when people ask me "how many kids do you have?" do I say "three kids and one adult?" Because that's what she is. An ADULT! How is this possible?
Wasn't it just yesterday that I was in labor? With no drugs? For several hours? Yelling "I don't care who gets this baby out, go get that janitor in the hall, just GET IT OUT!" Did I mention, NO drugs? I did? Ok. I'm pretty sure it was just a few days ago when my baby, hearing her new sister cry shouted "No, Hannah! It's MY turn to cry!". Wasn't it just a few months ago that my little four year old girl had her first taste of the spotlight when she danced to "Walking on Sunshine" in a bright orange and pink dance costume? Wasn't it only last year my third grader won a citizenship award? Just a few years ago that she played the violin in the junior high orchestra? Just yesterday when she received her diploma? (Well, that was less than a month ago, but you get the idea).
Where does the time go? It's filled up with the mundane - doctor, dentist and orthodontist appointments, broken arms, homework, chores.......as well as the celebratory and significant - birthdays, holidays, awards, celebrations, vacations. And somewhere in between, I was given 18 short years to teach her everything she needs to know before being kicked out of the nest into adventures of her own. College looms around the corner and before I know it, she will leave this house and whether she returns will be entirely up to her. Who am I kidding? She'll need money.
It's hard to fathom that 18 years ago I was awaiting the birth of my first child, anxious, excited and totally unprepared for what was to become the single most defining moment of my life. What's even scarier to think about is that I'm 18 years older now. (That's impossible, I'm still so YOUNG! Right? Right?)
I Googled "what can you do at age 18?" and here are some of the things I discovered. She can:
- join the military
- get convicted as an adult
- enter into a contract
- get married
- buy tobacco
- get a piercing
- get a tattoo
- change her name
- buy spray paint
- buy a lottery ticket
- rent a hotel room
- rent an apartment
- get a job
None of those sound particularly appealing. And why rush things? I've devised my own list. Hayley, my adult daughter, now that you are 18 you can:
- still watch iCarly and Victorious
- do arts and crafts
- eat macaroni and cheese
- collect Pillow Pets
- buy sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and glitter glue pens
- buy "big Gatorade"
- make cupcakes
- have movie marathons
- get a job
About that job.........she got one! Sure, she's wearing a visor and an ill-fitting polo shirt and smells like onions and salami when she comes home, but she's employed and earning her own paycheck. Perhaps one day soon, she will buy ME lunch (or coffee, or shoes, or braces, or a car?). One can hope.......
So, now our house is equally divided: three adults and three kids. Sounds about right. Balance.