I was looking at my daughter the other day and suddenly it was all I could do not to burst into strains of "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof. "Is this the little girl I carried?/ Is this the little girl at play?" Clearly, I have "My-Child-Is-Leaving-Me-To-Go-Off-To-College-And-I-Don't-Know-If-I-Did-Enough-Or-Taught-Her-Enough-And-I'm-Not-Ready-And-I'm-Not-Sure-She-Knows-How-To-Properly-Separate-Her-Laundry-And-Who-Am-I-Going-To-Hang -With-When-I-Have-Empty-Evenings" Syndrome. It's that last bit that pulled me up short, though. "Who am I going to hang with?" When did my teenager and I become friends?
I think our relationship has been pretty normal. It went from caring for adorable helpless infant, to helping toddler learn to take care of self, to helping adolescent grasp the world, to EXCUSE ME, I AM ALMOST AN ADULT AND I DISAGREE WITH MOST OF THE RULES AROUND HERE AND I AM INDEPENDENT AND DON'T NEED YOU AND BY THE WAY COULD YOU HOLD MY HAND WHILE I DEAL WITH ALL THIS ADULT STUFF? PLUS I NEED ICE CREAM NOW! in about the normal amount of time.
I think, however, that I spent most of that time bracing myself for everything I'd ever heard about teenagers to hit me. And, you know, we had our disagreements. But by and large, my child - and my other teens, while we're at it - was a pretty cool individual. Fun to know. Fun to be with. Fun to watch as she grew and figured things out. Don't get me wrong, sometimes it was flat-out scary (learner's permit, first dates, and wondering whether or not college was in the offing come to mind). But by and large, I've got nothing to complain about. I can stop bracing myself. I think not bracing ourselves for things in general and just enjoying them will make for more of these types of experiences in our lives.
So. Go off into the world my child, and slay your dragons. I'm so excited to see where you go and what you do. And I'm right behind you. At a respectable distance.
(P.S. - This child is probably why I write for Young Adults.)