Marking Milestones

Kids become adults, and we ask, “where has the time gone?”
Today is the last day our middle daughter will ever be 17, a milestone in the making. Have you noticed how many songs there are about being 17? It’s an age for singing out loud.  Here are 17 songs about being 17:

Lily is our second daughter to turn 17 (and our 5th child), so I should be getting better at this. One thing I might’ve done right this year is encourage her to just BE 17. When she has felt silly or other less than sophisticated ways and moods, we’ve talked about how its okay to feel like this, or act like that, because this is what it means to be 17. And you know what? Lily has rocked 17, by being present and being who she is at 17, not accelerating into adult life.

She’s written songs and poems, and won a regional poetry award. She put together a poetry collection and found a publisher. She finished high school with 70 college credits, but not because she’s in a hurry. She got a job she likes with Jamba Juice and can transfer to Portland where she’ll continue her education.                   (us a few winters ago)

Life is good, as it should be at 17. But it’s also scary and uncertain at times.
She wants to save the world, but she’s starting to see how difficult that might be. Yet she still wants to do her part, so she created her own internship with the Global Immersion Project. Read what she writes about crossing the San Diego/Tijuana border:

“Rather than a vow I made or some sort of pact with destiny, it’s a call I cannot ignore: I was made to use my voice for justice and peace. My voice is all I have to offer some days, but I will use it the best I can.”

We only get so much time with our kids and then they’re gone- off to college, or life without us. It is spring now, almost summer. We get one summer, or winter, or other short season, at age 10, or 17, or whatever age they are. At age 10 they still want to be with us; by age 17 we don’t see them so much. But Lily has been one to chat over coffee (she’d rather chat than do dishes), so I’ve learned to position myself in the kitchen, where there’s always plenty to do, just to be near if she wants to talk.

Soon she’ll be gone. This is our last month in the same house together, and she is gone much of the time already. Today she left to spend her birthday in Seattle visiting her brother. When she touches down again on Friday, it will just be for the day, then off to Portland to visit her sister, but she’ll be back on Sunday, Father’s Day. And we’ll be here to spend a little time together, trying to mark this milestone with her while we’re still a family in the same house, but she’ll no longer be 17.

She’ll be an adult then, wondering where all the time has gone.