Two weeks ago, my baby turned 18. The law says he’s an adult — he can vote and sign contracts, and when it comes to his medical and legal privacy the fact that I am his mother gives me absolutely no rights at all. A card came in the mail the other day reminding him to register for the Selective Service. He has already registered to vote.
When his older brother reached these same milestones I wrote “Eighteen is an arbitrary line… It is hardly a finite line…But it is a bright and important one.” I was writing proscriptively then — guessing, assuming, wondering, what it would be like to cross over into a new role for both of us. Now that Alex has gotten here too, I’ve had a taste of how reality compared to expectation.
Here is what I know:
You are bigger than I am.
And way stronger than I am, and you do a spectacular impression of someone who is ready to face the world — but every once in a while you will let me see glimpses of the imp with the Dutch boy haircut who needs me.
“Going off to college” is not the dramatic change in our relationship that I thought it would be.
The real Before and After has happened already — when you got your driver’s license last year. I remember the day you learned to crawl — your utter joy that now YOU had a say in where you went in your world. A car magnifies your independence; I no longer have to factor you into the logistical equation of our day. You now navigate, literally and metaphorically, on your own. READ MORE