Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Crossing The Edge of Eighteen

Yesterday, Sabrina, my baby, the daughter I have raised more or less from infancy, turned eighteen. That age isn't quite the celebration that it used to be, with the age for many "adult" things now being 21, but it is still a significant milestone, and one that she is justifiably proud of. It's still a Big Deal.
In truth, she's been more adult than youth for some time now. And although I am not going to go into details in this space, the last year or so has been very stressful and difficult, one that has shown up the fallacy of an arbitrary date based on the quirk of the calendar marking the passage into maturity. My love for my daughter has not diminished in any way, nor has my faith in her ability to eventually have a purposeful and meaningful life. But if the road to adulthood is paved with "learning experiences," a good amount of construction took place this past year, and there is still quite a few flagmen in the road. And with college beckoning, and the actual leaving of the nest now in sight, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned, to some degree.
But I do not wish to be overly dramatic, or give indications that home life has become this unbearable trial. As challenging as some of the events of the past year have been, our bond has survived, and remains strongly tethered in place. Her ideals have taken root (and taken a hit, as the reality of life in the country she lives in has started to sink in), and she has not lost the faith in a better future for both herself and the world around her. More importantly, she is willing to take actions to make that better future come to fruition. She has demonstrated, for better or worse, that she is capable of loyalty and deep connections with people, and that is on balance a commendable trait.
And of course I still love her, deeply and without reservation. There have been disappointing occurrences, but I am in no way disappointed in the woman that my daughter is becoming. And as much as I have ached to see the child evolve in some ways, I am not so selfish or so stupid as to want her to be in a state of dependence and complete innocence for a moment longer than necessary. And while she is not totally independent, not totally grown up, she continues to make huge strides and progress forward almost on a daily basis. And she is still a good kid; as I wrote last week, as much as some of what has happened I would rather not have had to go through, on balance they have all been minor bumps in the road. Her values are intact, and her heart is good; and while she is full of the normal adolescent belief in her own infallibility and invulnerability, she does have a good dollop of common sense mixed in that limits the risks. I worry about her at times, but she is not a constant source of stress, and I do not wonder every day whether she is going to come home at night.
She remains the light of my life. Happy birthday, Boo Bear. And many more to you.

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