Monday, December 1, 2008

A Milestone Reached...

On Saturday, November 29th, we celebrated my youngest daughter's sixteenth birthday. It was a milestone on several fronts. The most obvious one is that of my daughter having reached that magic age where the everything begins to open up before her and her womanhood now becomes a focal point for the world at large. Then there is the fact that she reached that magic age relatively unscathed by the slings and arrows of childhood and early adolescence. By that I mean no fights at school, no squabbles at summer camp (altercations with her siblings don't count), no pregnancies, drugs or alcohol, no gang activity, etc. Not for one moment do I take for granted the fact that although my kids give me grief and back talk sometimes, they are great kids. When I think of the parents wondering where their children are, what they are doing and who they are doing it with, I thank God every day for the kids I have.

The most important milestone in my book is that my empty nest countdown has begun. In the not-so-distant future I can look forward to not having progeny underfoot, to not having to work my schedule around the needs of my children, to doing first and foremost for myself. True, there are still quite a few years before my children will be totally on their own, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel that signals freedom from excessive cell phone charges, sibling squabbles and piles of laundry. Oh, I don't expect that any of that will come to a stop...just that it will be taking place at their place, not mine.

Wanting my children out of my house is not to say that I want them out of my life. I just recognize that as long as they hang around, I will revert to our established modes of behavior, i.e., "I'm the mommy, you're the child and you'll do as you're told as long as you're in my house", and they will understandably resent it. They need autonomy. They need their own space. They need to live in their own squalor to understand the value of a clean home and fresh laundry. They need to work, pay bills, make mistakes and learn to be adults. They need to fly without a net into that scary wild blue yonder.

Yep, my baby is sixteen and I'm going to savor these last years before my kids are gone. The countdown has begun.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
-Gitana, the Creative Diva

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