Today, Christian, our first born turns 18. We really can't believe it. It just seems impossible that not so long ago we had a baby boy in my arms and today he turns into an adult. Just absolutely crazy. As of yesterday, I've been finding myself breaking into sudden burst of tears as the reality of this reality sets in. Am I feeling happy, sad or even scared? Or is it because I'm feeling so grateful for having had 18 years to see this little guy grow up right in front of our eyes. I'm sure its a little of everything, but as his parents, we couldn't feel luckier.
But now what? So he's 18! What does that really mean? There is so much more to turning 18 nowadays and its not lost on any of us, including Christian himself...
As we ponder this we realize that turning 18 now means that...
- He is a legal adult.
- He now has the right to vote.
- He can sign his own notes at school and sign himself out if necessary.
- He can legally drive with other others in the car.
- He can buy lottery tickets and be a lotto winner.
- He can legally work full time...(to buy said lottery tickets?)
- He can apply for credit cards/loans.
- He has the legal right to keep his medical records private and to make his own decisions about his health...(did you know that?)
- His Selective Service papers came in the other day..so he can enlist in the military if he chooses to or is needed to.... (That was a reality check if I ever felt one!!)
- In other places around the world, he can legally drink.
- And he is now legally responsible for his own decisions/actions.
So many things on this list here include the word 'legal' and its scaring the crap out of me. As a parent, you want to continue to always be there to protect them, to get them out of trouble if need be, and we will be but he is now going to be held accountable for himself. A normal right of passage, a life step. We've all been there. Ouch, this is hard.
But am I worried about him badly taking advantage of any of these privileges? Honestly, No. Not really. That's just not who Christian is. If anything, that is one of the things I am most grateful about him is that he has always been very considerate of us when making decisions and he has willingly accepted and respected our rules and the decisions we have made for him AND with him. I have the feeling that he will continue to do so even though he's turned 18. THAT is who Christian is. And although this will be the harder part for us to do as parents, but within reason I think its going to be our turn to trust and respect him and the decisions he in turn begins to make for himself. A right of passage for us.
Anyway, we have been fortunate in that open and honest communication is key for us as a family so its expected and practiced amongst the 5 of us when necessary. So now as Chris finishes his Senior year and will be getting ready to go off to college probably out of state (maybe out of the country??) by the end of summer, those open and honest conversations will continue to happen as often as need be just so that we're as much on the same page as possible. I feel like these are 'Spiderman' type conversations..."with more power (or age in this case) comes more responsibility." And as many of us know, this will hold true no matter where he is, where he goes and with what he decides to do in life.
Aside from all the seriousness...I can honestly say that no matter the age, Christian will always be our little boy with the sunshine smile and we will be there for him no matter what.
Christian, you have made the last 18 years such a pleasure for us as it has gone by almost too fast. We thank you for having made it so easy for us. We couldn't be more grateful and blessed to have you in our lives and we couldn't be prouder of the man you have become. We can't wait to see what the future has ahead for you.
May this 18th Birthday be the beginning of a wonderful and exciting adventure! You deserve it and may God continue to bless you and keep you today and always buddy.
Happy 18th Birthday Christian!
We LOvE you Pop!
Mom and Dad