Sweet Sixteen

Last week was my daughter’s 16th birthday…It’s her sweet sixteen and its just the beginning of more independence, more letting go, more compromise, and more trust…and still embracing it all…

I struggled all week, because she is growing up. I must have asked her a million times what she wanted to do for her birthday.  All she wanted to do was go out to dinner with her friends after practice.  At first I was crushed… how could she not want to spend her birthday dinner with her family.  How could she not want to spend it with me and her 2 siblings… haha.  

So, I graciously agreed to let her go to dinner with her friends.  I will not lie..It felt a little sad to have dinner at home with just my other two children on her birthday.    But I offered to pay for her and her friends, as long as I got one picture of them all together. And after she got home, we celebrated with cheesecake and presents.  In the end, it was her day, so I let her celebrate it how she wanted.  And she thanked me numerous time for letting them go to dinner that night.  

I came to grips with it by the end of the week..but watching your kids grow up and gain more and more independence is painful.   When they are little, we just make all the decisions for them… from the birthday party theme to the guest list to the cake to the games… It all centers around our decisions.  As they get older, I have to remember to let them make some decisions.  And I have to remember that it might not be what I want…

And besides her birthday, I have been going through months of driving lessons.  Months of griping to the side of the car door, months of gasping for a breath, and months of wondering if people ever die with student drivers….Months of saying the words “slow down”..Months of letting her get in a car with her friends that already have their license.  I am not sure what is worse… her driving or her being the passenger with her friends…

And this summer when she wanted to go to a beach about an hour away with her friends driving..   I did not want to let her go, I was so worried, I was a wreck most of the day.. But I made her call me when she left, call me they got there, and call me on the way home.  Maybe a little overboard, but hearing her voice throughout the day, made me be a little more sane that day.  I had to learn to trust her and this is how you do it.  But I guess that is what we do… we give them little bits of independence and see how they can handle it. 

And now its christmas, and she does not want to “hang out” with the family as much.  She is starting new traditions with her friends… going to look at Christmas Lights with her group, baking cookies with them, and exchanging gifts.  

And she keeps bringing up going on a girls weekend this summer… YIKES!!  And then I remember that my parents let me go with my friends to look at colleges when I was 16.  And then that hits me…College… what the hell! 

She is registering for her junior year of school, along with looking ahead to her senior year.  She is starting to think about what she wants to do after highschool.  And I am thinking where did the time go.  Will I maybe only have 2 years left with her at home… 

How do I handle all the independence and freedom?  And embrace all the things that you want to explore?  

I guess I still cherish the moments that you want to spend with us.  I have learned to enjoy the 10 minute car ride to target.  I have learned to enjoy the 5 minutes you pop in with your friends in between practice and a sleepover.  I love that you still watch grey’s anatomy and we can talk about it over and over again.  

I have learned to let go of those mornings that you are so crabby I can not even look at you..and 10 minutes later you come upstairs and act like nothing happened.  

I have learned that I pick and choose what I “make” you do with us…. I compromise. I compromise over and over again.  

I give more independence. I trust. I compromise. I let go. And I watch over you again and again…




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