Yesterday marked our fourth and final daughter’s 18th birthday. While she is still home with us completing her senior year of high school, I can’t help feeling like this was a milestone day. I declared to my colleagues at lunch, “I’m done! She’s 18 – my job is complete!” But we all knew that couldn’t be further from the truth. With three adult daughters not far ahead of her, I have come to realize our children never stop needing their parents.
Still though, I find myself feeling closer to the end of a significant chapter in my life. That which once consumed what felt like my every waking minute, slowly morphed into one gradual release after another, until, just 6,574 days later, I found myself watching my baby celebrate the transition into being an adult.
My identity as a parent feels different – and it should really. I’m just not sure I’m ready to walk into it. So much is behind me, and I’m not entirely certain what the journey looks like that lies ahead of me. I enjoyed being needed. I thrived in the busy comings and goings of everyone’s activities. I even embraced navigating the worries and concerns through every parenting stage we faced.
Yet the journey awaits, ready or not. The remaining days of high school are all we have before she launches out of the nest, so even though she is legally an adult, I am going to try my best to be intentional and savor every day until we send her on her way!