My baby is 18 now.
An official adult.
In America, this means you can vote! and buy tobacco products (don’t). You’re still treated like a child, but expected to be mature beyond your experience.
In Europe, you could buy liquor or we could have a cocktail together in a pub.
You still don’t have your driver’s license and that’s ok. I try not to push you to do anything until you’re ready.
I know how stubborn you can be.
You’re my first baby, and I did a lot of things wrong.
I hardly felt grown myself when I had you.
I was anxious about the silly things and screwed up some important things. I was too strict in the beginning. I yelled and hit. I was childish and mean.
Then I began to understand.
You’re the reason I’ve done everything.
I pulled myself out of emotional, financial, and relationship pits for you.
We homeschooled for you.
You were my anchor.
It’s a lot of responsibility for a child’s shoulders to bear.
I have lots of regrets and apologies. I’ve tried to always be honest with you, even when I’m ashamed.
I know growing up can be scary. I know there are so many difficult decisions. Sometimes, I get scared for you. It seems that life throws lots of curveballs within just a few years and it seems like you have to make all the right decisions superfast or you will fail miserably. I feel anxiety but you have to learn and make your own way. If I catch you all the time, you won’t be able to march on. Comparing yourself to others makes it worse. I know it seems like others have it made and it looks so easy for them. I know it’s lonely. Even if you make a wrong decision (like I made so, so many), you will still eventually succeed. Your success might look different than you imagine. You can always make amends, changes, u-turns. Hearts heal. You can change your major. You can get a different job. Relationships come and go.
You are resilient and strong.
I am so proud of you.
What I pray for you now that you’re spreading your wings:
I love that you know who you are. I am just figuring that out for myself.
I’m learning to listen better.
I love that you’re assertive and have opinions, even when we disagree.
I love who you are as a big sister. Thank you for caring so much.
I admire your wit.
Be careful on social media.
Maintain integrity in everything.
Use your voice to lift up others and make a difference. I believe you can change the world for better.
Learn what your body needs for health.
Yes, it really does help to go outside and enjoy nature – in every kind of weather.
Drink lots of water. It helps flush out toxins and makes you feel better. Honest.
Eat well and regularly. It regulates your metabolism. You will thank me when you’re 35.
Take time for yourself to heal and recover. But make sure you get back out there.
I still worry.
I still want to know where you are and who you’re with.
I will always be concerned.
I hope you never have to utilize those skills you learned in that 2-hour self-defense class.
I know I can’t keep you safe like I could when you were little, but I hope you’re always aware of your surroundings.
We’ve tried really hard to stay debt-free. We’ve had our ups and downs.
I want you to have a better beginning, with no student loan debt. No car loan.
Debt can be crippling to recover from.
Credit cards are not for regular use, but only for emergencies.
Start saving for wants and emergencies as soon as you can.
Money is a tool like any other.
I pray we’ve given you a great beginning.
“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
“Now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here. Make good art.” ~Neil Gaiman
While we have few milestones or coming of age rituals in the USA, I hope I made your birthdays and life events special.
What seems to emerge after the trials of the fifteen/sixteen change is a calmer, more self-assured young person. They don’t need to talk about everything anymore. They are trying to handle things themselves in a more self-contained way than ever before. They are preparing for their own life where they must stand on their own two feet. Parents often are not sure how much to intervene or offer help at this stage.The Parenting Passageway
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