My sweet, strong, empathetic, intelligent, funny, independent daughter turned 14 today. Not really a highly celebrated milestone, but for me it is scary. Scarier than when she entered double digits or technically entered her teen years at 13.
It is her last birthday before she enters High School. It means she is one year closer to her first paid job, her learner’s permit, her first boyfriend, first kiss, driver’s license. One year closer to all the things I know I need to let go for and support her in doing to accomplish gaining her independence.
It means in exactly four years she will be an adult. Sure, she’ll still be in her senior year of high school for awhile after reaching that milestone, thanks to having a Fall birthday, which means I’ll hopefully have a little bit of influence over her from her 18th birthday in November until her High School graduation in May. But nonetheless, in four years she will be an adult! She will be able to move out of the house if she so chooses, vote, join the military, enter into and be held responsible for entering into contracts of all kind including MARRIAGE. Any decision or mistakes will be much more serious, could ruin her credit, or land her in jail!
She is in no rush to finish growing up and become an adult, with all the responsibility that entails, and I am not in a rush to have my little girl become a woman either. But, with only four years left, I feel a little rushed now! Are there things I should have taught her by now? Are there ways in which I’ve sheltered her too much? Are there things I’ve screwed up that it’s too late to fix? What can I learn from this and do better with my second one who is only three years behind her? Will I have equipped her with all the tools she’ll need to find her way in the world? What kind of a relationship will we have once she’s an adult? What kind of a relationship will she have with her little sister? Have I helped them build a strong foundation for a lifelong friendship and bond? What if she moves away like she hopes to, how will I cope with the distance, with taking a backseat while she navigates her own life?
So many questions, worries. So many things to check off the list of “everything my kids should know how to do for themselves before they turn 18.” Only Four Years Left, and I know from the first fourteen they will go by much too quickly!