“I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”* Those words from a favorite childhood book echoed in my heart on October 4 as Joshua turned 18 years old. There is a symbolic component to the 18th birthday – officially becoming an adult, becoming “legal”. According to the Internet site About.com/Young Adults, becoming legal has many privileges as well as legal implications. He can now sign his health forms for Southern, own his car, manage his Scottrade account, and inherit property. Not only can he vote, drive without restrictions, pay taxes, but also he must register for Selective Service (Joshua, you better get this done).
We all know what parents say at times like this. “He was only a baby just yesterday.” or “Where has the time gone?” are favorite lines. But parents say these lines because they are true. It does seem that it was just yesterday when he was saying his first word or riding his bike without training wheels, or jumping off a fire pit and pretending to fly. As a parent, I get a little teary-eyed reminiscing about those precious days and wondering if I cherished the moment enough. Wondering if I had to do it all over again if I would have called in sick to work a few more days, or “let the house go” and played with my son a little more…
Enough of the past, this is the present. Joshua celebrated his birthday with his friends at a Chattanooga restaurant. No parents needed. He is now independent. Yes, we did celebrate the following weekend with the family (See photo). But, the fact is, we are not the center of his life anymore. And that is as it should be.
On this 18th birthday, I also look to the future and remember all those important life-changing events that happened to me during my 4 years at Southern. I did meet Mr. Right (and he has continued in that role for 27 years now.) And I did choose a career that has taken me places that I could have never imagined. Those two decisions are so vital to Joshua’s future that I pray every day for God’s special guidance in those areas of his life.
So, Happy Birthday Son, 18 years ago you made me a mother, and it has been an amazing journey! Love you!
* From Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch.