It’s a funny thing that happens when your first child turns 18. He’s not much different than he was when he was 17 and 364 days, but the flip of the page to 18 and zero days is definitely something new. It’s a marker, arbitrary as it may be, that says, “It’s time.”
It’s time to start seeing him a little differently. It’s time to start treating him a little differently. It’s been coming for a while and we’ve made appropriate adjustments along the way but, this day? This is the day we have been both dreading and waiting for. This is the day he is an adult, ready or not.
It reminds me of the day he was born. It was also a day I had both been dreading and waiting for. He was 6 days overdue, a sign certainly that this was a child who runs on his own timeline. A child that likes to be home. A child that would fight me mightily to break him loose.
Or was that me, fighting mightily to hold on to him as he tried to break loose? This became my pattern: I’d fight him to step into some independence and then fight that streak of independence in order to keep him safe.
Or was that his pattern, fighting me to be treated like a child and then fighting me to be treated older than he was?
We have done this dance his whole life so far, my boy and I, and I wonder how it might now change. The little boy with the giant pumpkin head, long lanky body, big piercing blue eyes, perfect pink lips, soft fair skin, tousled sandy blond hair. The boy who loved to help and loved to lead and loved to take care of others and delighted in driving me to the brink with his stubborn streak.
The boy hasn’t changed much in 17 years and 364 days. Except now, on year 18 and zero days, he’s a man.
A day we’ve been dreading. A day we’ve been waiting for.
Happy Birthday, Baby.