Minor no more

So our youngest daughter, Jennifer Lynn turned 18 yesterday which is certainly bittersweet for me. All our children are adults now. Of course, they never stop being my “children;” but I will have to start thinking of them as my “adult children.” My days of being a mother first and everything else secondary, are past.

Jennifer Lynn started listing off everything that she can do now that she’s an adult: rent a hotel room in her own name, get married, buy cigarettes, buy a lottery ticket, buy alcohol in most parts of the world, live independently from her parents’ control, and vote for the most progressive candidate on the ballot. She loves to watch the color drain from my face.

She is an adult now, but for the next 45 days until she goes away to college and we become empty-nesters, she is our last child still living at home. As we were chatting about this with her during her birthday dinner in San Francisco, it really hit me – how much I am going to miss having her around.

I was sad when her older sister Valerie headed off to college. But Valerie had been such an uncommunicative pill during her senior year of high school that once she and Steve pulled out of the driveway to drive to Southern California to deposit her in the dorm at Chapman, my teary eyes dried up pretty quickly. I breathed a sigh of relief; the black cloud had left. Let me add, that since going away to college, Valerie is an absolute delight to spend time with. Having to figure stuff out on your own without the immediate support of mom and dad tends to be an attitude adjuster.

However as teenagers go, Jennifer has been a pleasure to have around; generally,she is very chatty and only occasionally acts out her rebellion by not telling us where she is.

As I think about the coming year and how I am going to miss her once she leaves, I had to think about the alternative. Would I rather have Jennifer keep working at Starbucks, go to the JC, and live at home instead of taking advantage of the huge opportunity that has been given to her (thank you God) in the form of a full tuition scholarship to Pepperdine? No, of course not.

Will the next six weeks also be bittersweet as we prepare to say goodbye to our youngest adult child? You bet. I’m choking up already.

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