Friday, 2 May 2014

The Parenting Files: The Day My Baby Turned 18

I always found it hard to imagine what my family would look like when I first had children.  Our house was full of little people who needed us to do everything, or at least have a hand in everything they needed or wanted to do.  They laughed and frolicked through the days in a flurry of cute little clothes and a mountain of toys; hugs and kisses, and mess.  Frequently there was the testing of limits and attempts to assert their little wills over ours. 

There were days when I wondered if we would all survive this thing called childhood.  Especially when our first three year old informed me that I could not tell her what to do!  It was this stubborn little person I most seriously wondered about in terms of the possibility of reaching adulthood.

Today Miss Sunshine is 18 years old.  

In Australia this means she is now legally an adult.  I have spent this week counting down the sleeps and gazing at her in amazement that her childhood was about to officially end.  Today she looks no different, but she is, and forevermore will be, an adult.

We decided on a Pandora 'Essence' bracelet for her gift.  Normally I would be the first objector about the expense of a thing to hang on a wrist, however this particular collection is all about character.  We want this to be not only a representation of her character but a prophetic word of promise over her life.  If we believe (and I do) that words have the power to be creative or destructive then I want my daughter's life to be lived under words that have creative power.  We have begun with 'faith' and 'freedom'.  The lady in the store thought 'freedom' was perfect for a new adult.  And perhaps that is true.  I had a completely different justification.

I want my daughter's life to be one driven by her own 'faith' in a God who adores her and goes to great lengths to keep her in His arms and part of His kingdom.  I want her to know the immense 'freedom' she has because of her faith; that she is free to be who she was created to be.  Freedom to live a life of significance that comes when she is  acting out of her beliefs which are informed by faith.

Our daughter is an incredible young lady.  She is beautiful, both inside and out.  She is poised and quietly confident.  She is sensible, funny and fun-loving, talented, capable and intelligent.  And she is such a rare and stunning gift to us.  She is the kind of daughter I always dreamed of, and was so scared I would not have the privilege of having.

She and I were recently discussing how her becoming an adult might change the family dynamics.  I wondered how that would work.  I was working full-time and driving my own car at 18 and definitely had views about being independent.  I'm still paying her (significant) school fees and she can't go anywhere without me for another 90-hours-and-a-test.  She decided it would be easier if I still tell her what to do, she stays at school and nothing else much changes.

And I'm perfectly OK with that.

Happy Birthday Miss Sunshine

Image Credit


jude's page said...

What a wonderful post, and as you describe your daughter, and without knowing you, except from reading your blog, I imagine she might be a lot like her mother??

Tracy said...

Thank you Jude - you are incredibly generous and kind to say so.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Happy belated birthday to Miss Sunshine! 18! I love the bracelet and the thinking behind it.