Our two oldest daughters are entering a new phase in their lives. Birthdays are always wonderful but some seem to be more significant than others.
Take for instance turning 5. This is the year that a child gets to go to school for the first time. It is the year the child enters into the uncharted territory of being away from parents and making some of his own decisions for the first time.
Then there is 10. The child wakes up on the day of his tenth birthday thinking he must be so much different now. It's as if he has undergone a whole years worth of changes in one night. He looks in the mirror and tests his now slightly deeper voice. He puts product in his hair by himself. Who cares that the spikes are half up and half down. He picks out his own clothes and leaves the dirty ones on the floor - not everything has changed. When his little sister asks for help from Mom the 10 year old quickly comes to her rescue. "Oh, I can do that for you!" And he does. Little does the 10 year old realize that he is only one day older than he was the day before.
Next is 13. The day a child looks forward to for so many years. When the day finally arrives and someone hands that child a You're A Teenager Now card, its like letting the wind out of her sails. What? This is it? I don't feel any different than I did yesterday when I was 12. It's a hard reality but true and the child begins to look for her place in the world. Little does she realize that she has just begun her fast approach to the adult world and will soon be making decisions that will shape and mold the rest of her life.
Another significant year is 15. Our second oldest will be turning 15 in a couple short weeks. The parents of the 15 year old will take her to the DMV and she will take a test - and pass it. The officer who administers the test will give her a permit to drive and then will leave her father and mother with the responsibility to teach her how. At 15 another huge step in life will happen. The 15 year old will for the first time realize that she needs to decide what she wants to do with her life. The parents of the 15 year old will suddenly find, in their mail box,letters from colleges addressed to this 15 year old child. She will take her ACT for the first time. You, the parent will drop her off and circle the school waiting for her as if it were her first day of kindergarten, but it's not. No, it is so much bigger than that. It is the first day of the rest of her life. The child will begin to ask strange questions like, "When can I get a job?" "Can I drive to swim practice?" "Are you going to get me a car when I turn 16?" The 15 year old is standing at the brink, the very edge of adulthood and is not sure how to cross over.
Then there is 16. Our oldest daughter will turn on May 23. This is uncharted territory for us all. I have never had a 16 year old child and she has never been
16. We will take each new day as it happens. I know the questions about college will be more frequent. I know that I will have to let her go out on the roads and into the great big world - alone. I know that this year is a huge step in letting go. I know that she will enter her junior year in high school and I know I will wander where the time has gone.
I know I will enjoy every step of the way and I know she will be just fine.
Brooke and Kayla - I am so proud of both of you. You have grown to be fine young people and I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things you will accomplish in the coming year. Happy birthday to you both!