Yesterday, she was our kiddo. Now, she’s our adult-o.
Our oldest daughter just turned 18. I know what you’re thinking; I don’t look old enough to have an 18-year-old daughter. And if you were thinking I look old enough to have an 18-year-old granddaughter, well, that’s just mean.
I’m not ready to have an adult child, so I’m doing what dads do best: Cracking jokes about it.
I told her she didn’t have juvenile diabetes anymore. Now it’s adult diabetes.
I kept telling her she should use her final day as a 17-year-old to commit a series of crimes, so she won’t be charged as an adult.
My wife blew up a balloon and drew faces on it. On one side was a 17-year-old smiley face. On the other side was a wrinkly 18-year-old face.
We told her now that she’s 18, she can start paying rent. We’re reasonable, so we told her she’d get her first month’s rent-free.
True story: She asked us Saturday morning how much this new rent was. We had to explain we were just kidding. Or is it adulting, now that she’s crossed over that magical threshold?
After all, at 18, you have the legal right to make all sorts of dumb decisions. You can buy cigarettes. You can get a poorly planned tattoo. You can vote for the wrong people.
In the eyes of the law, she doesn’t need us anymore.
That’s what makes it so hard to process. Whenever I think about her, I think of that shy, quiet 4-year-old girl I met when her mother and I started dating. I remember the sound of her giggle when I made silly faces behind her mom’s back when we brought her along on our second date to a corn maze.
I’ve been trying to hear that giggle ever since. I spent many car rides lip-syncing songs as we went back and forth to her various practices, dancing wildly to hear her chuckle.
Those car trips are fewer and farther between now. I taught her to drive a few years ago, and she earned her license. Now she’s more independent. She works a part-time job. She gets herself to her own events in her own car. Sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even live here anymore, aside from stopping by to eat, sleep and do laundry.
She’s become so reliable. When she doesn’t have a conflict, she happily takes her sisters wherever they need to be. A few days ago, she’d already taken one sister to practice before I got home from work, simply because she knew it was time.
Most people who know her think she’s a well-mannered, thoughtful person who tries to put others before her self.
In other words, she’s become exactly the kind of adult we always wanted her to be.