Chelsea turned 18 on Wednesday. I didn’t realize how fully the pending milestone affected me until after the day passed – successfully – and all the tension and worry (Will it be memorable enough? Special enough?) (It was!) evaporated from my body. I felt like a pot of water that had boiled dry. No wonder I caught the crud so easily.

Although nothing actually changed from one day to the next, Chelsea turning 18 prompted a couple not-so-happy thoughts. First, as happens with all milestones, I was prompted to take stock, this time of how well I’d done in regards to my kid. The last 18 years have not been without significant challenges. Most of the time, the mistakes I’ve made stand out, like red ink on the list in my mind. Part of my heart aches from not having more opportunities to make up for the hard times, for the lost tempers and struggles, but she’s great, despite my not always knowing what the hell I was doing. Bobby and I managed to get her this far, intact – that’s a sign of doing something right, isn’t it?

The other unavoidable realization that arrived with having a child evolve into a person legally considered an adult is this: damn. As in, “Damn, I’m old.”

No wonder women are waiting longer and having babies later in life. Who wouldn’t want to stave off their own impending coming-to-terms with the aging process?

Not that many people would look at me and assume I’m rolling downhill to cronehood. But when you have the full bloom of youth living in your house, you can’t help but notice how your own parts are withering. Not to mention drooping.

Suddenly I’m compelled to either do a bunch of sit-ups or come up with a reason to start drinking at 11 a.m.


2 thoughts on “Eighteen”

  1. I’m with you, Jen. Let’s start drinking at 11 a.m. Who needs a reason?

    BTW- In my humble opinion, you’ve raised a great kid. She’s got a lot of learning and living to do on her own, and she’ll be great at it. She’s really lucky to have you and Bobby, and I completely mean that.

    About having kids later in life… well, I’m not so sure about it, myself. I’m a little afraid of how I’m going to feel in (a realistic) 3 or 4 years. Tired? Too old? I don’t know. Sometimes I feel that way now, and somehow wish I could have started earlier. But then, I could have also jumped the gun about 6 years ago and also been divorced by now, so I guess in the end, I’m okay with the decisions I’ve made (particularly in regards to not breeding too early than was right for my lifestyle).

  2. Happy Birthday to Chelsea!

    Andrea just turned 20, and Melissa will soon be 14. I was 33, almost 34 when I gave birth to Melissa. When she was a baby, we were in the Fortuna post office, and some old guy, said to me, “What a nice grandson you have there!”

    “She is my daughter!”, I replied.

    “Well you look old enough to be his grandma!”, the geezer retorted.


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