It has been a lazy few days around our house.

M spent last week in Michigan with one of her best friend’s families. She seemed to have a great time. Boy was the house quiet without the most talkative sister around. Kind of a preview of what awaits us next fall.

I had big plans to do something fun with her sisters while she was away, but every day one of them had something pop up that prevented that from happening. C had two more driving lessons, watched two of her cousins part of one day, and cleaned for one of her aunts another day. L pitched in with that aunt and mowed her yard for her. L and I got a couple workouts in between her hanging with friends.

Saturday we had most of L’s travel basketball team over for a season-ending pool party. Despite a forecast for a heat index approaching 110, it stayed cloudy all day and was actually a nice evening to spend outside. The girls seemed to have fun and it was nice to hang out with the parents casually rather than in the stands or while on a basketball trip.

Sunday we had some friends over for dinner. They have boys M’s and C’s ages and in recent years those gatherings have been a little awkward. These kids have known each other since birth but something about the teenage years turned it weird a couple years back. But everyone was happy and got along last night. We managed to avoid the heavy storms that split the area, although the kids never got into the pool because we could hear thunder in the distance. There was a possible tornado only about two miles from our home. Fortunately it was moving away from us and we were never in any danger.

Today is a big day in our house: M’s 18th birthday! Her sisters have been saying for weeks how weird that sounds to them. For some reason her turning 17 last year seemed weirder than 18. But it is still odd to have an adult child, legally speaking. Especially since she still has a year of high school left. I didn’t turn 18 until after I graduated so that has always seemed like the natural progression to me. You graduate, turn 18, then go to college. Obviously that only works for about a third of the population, but it was my experience and my “normal.”

Fortunately she has matured a lot the past 2–3 years and seems ready to be 18. She still has moments where we smack our foreheads at her lack of common sense or ability to figure things out on her own, but that’s normal. In general she’s a smart, mature, well-adjusted kid that seems comfortable in her own skin and in social settings.

Much of parenthood is spent hoping. Hoping that you are teaching your kids the right things and hoping that they are taking those lessons in. Hoping that they don’t grow up to be shitheads. M’s journey to adulthood is far from over, but I am proud of where she is at at this moment in her life. I’ve always said I wouldn’t be worried about her because, one way or another, she’ll figure out her path. I still feel exactly that way about her.

We had a rough patch, M and I, when she was 14–16ish, and it took awhile to come out of that. But we get along a lot better now than we did a couple years ago (and things weren’t really that bad then) and we enjoy each other’s company and giving each other shit.

We took C and her out for brunch today, then walked around the mall for a bit.[1] I mocked her for being excited about getting a birthday discount at Kendra Scott. We will have a big birthday dinner for her and a group of friends in the next week or so. She is headed to a local lake with friends later today. I imagine the young man she’s been spending some time with will be there as well. Not a bad way to spend your 18th birthday.

C and I went to the orthodontist this morning. She has struggled with her retainer regimen since she got her braces off over a year ago. We’ve already had to have it re-fitted once. Well, she went through a long spell of not wearing it, now it doesn’t fit, and her teeth have moved. So she’s going in Invisalign for the next 4–6 months. Which is lovely. I think she realizes this is her last chance and needs to take better care of her teeth if she doesn’t want her parents to ground her until she goes to college.

  1. L is spending the day with friends at a water park.  ↩