Parents aren’t done when their kids turn 21

Parents aren’t done when their kids turn 21



New parents are often told that this little baby, this precious gift from God, is theirs to nurture for 18 years. It’s a lie.


Even 21 years isn’t exactly the truth, because the statement leads unsuspecting parents to believe that in 18 or 21 years their job is done. All those years parents are headed to the light at the end of the tunnel and when the 18th birthday comes they find that the tunnel is a little longer then they expected. Then the 21st birthday comes and that light just keeps getting farther and farther away.


Brittanyturned 21 Mother’s Day weekend. The weekend before that she went to a wedding inCharlotteand drove throughHickoryon the way to trade cars with her dad so he could take hers in for some work.


This was ok, because she wasn’t 21 yet. It was still our job to take care of her, and John had been taking care of her car since she got it. The problem was he only had Saturday and Sunday and the list was long and the service places weren’t open long enough, so her car didn’t get fixed.


Sunday when she returned to trade back, she had another project for him. She had left her cell phone sitting next to a glass of ice water overnight and the condensation from the glass created a pool of water that her phone sat in long enough to destroy it. Luckily John had just replaced his own cell phone and we hadn’t donated it to charity yet so he gave it to her. This involved an hour at the cell phone store getting help transferring the information and registration from her phone to his.


But, that’s ok. She was only 20. Not an adult yet. Our job was to take care of her.


The next weekend she arrived home late on her birthday. 21! The light!! She would only be home for a day because her sorority was sending her to a Leadership Institute inAlabamaon Monday morning for a week where according to the brochure she would “develop her personal skills and explore what it means to lead with integrity. Assess her strengths as a leader, learn the value of feedback and reflection, and understand the dynamics of power, communication, and teamwork.” Most importantly, “she would develop a bold and challenging vision for herself and for a group or cause that she cared about. She would practice communicating her vision and learn how to bring that vision into reality.”


And “Bill Gates is a graduate of the course”!


But,Brittany hadn’t taken the course yet and arrived home without her camera (she borrowed mine for the trip) or her suitcase. All her clothes were clean and folded in a laundry basket. I asked her how she could forget a suitcase when she was flying toAlabama? She said she didn’t forget, but hers was full of stuff and under her bed at school. So my suitcase went along too.


Then as we were getting ready for church Sunday morning she came in my room to ask if she could borrow my black cardigan. I told her she had already borrowed it and took it back to school with her the last fall. She said, “Darn!” Which was exactly what I said a month before when I wanted to wear it and realized where it was.


The next day, after being 21 for an entire day, she drove to the Charlotteairport in my car so her dad could have a whole week to work on her car.


In a strange way I was actually kind of happy about it all. 21 years has gone by too quickly and I’m thinking that light can stay out in the distance a little bit longer after all. No matter what they say, it’s kind of nice to know she will always be our baby.


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