My Oldest "Baby" is Almost an Adult—My Latest New Year Age Defining Realization

Last November, my oldest daughter turned 16—and it was one of those painful, middle aged mom moments for me where I realized that I was the parent of a sixteen year old girl! (If you haven’t crossed this mom milestone yet—it can be a tough one….after all, remember how OLD YOUR parents were when you were 16???) Where did the years go?

Even as mind blowing as having a child hit driving age was for me, the true implications of the next few years did not hit me until a high school friend posted on Facebook that her baby was now officially an adult. Her beautiful “baby” girl turned 18 today. Although we had talked about college applications and acceptance letters—until the word “adult” entered the conversation, things just didn’t seem so “final”….nor age defining. Then, just hours later, a childhood neighbor—only a few years older than I—posted pictures of her newborn granddaughter! Where did the years go--SERIOUSLY?

This morning, I’m looking at my three amazing girls in near awestruck horror—one still in preschool, one an Irish dancing, academic whiz kid, and the eldest a musically gifted dreamer. Why horrified? The musical dreamer, who is lucky to remember to scoop the cat litter on a regular basis, is nearly an adult! Have I trained her well? Have I provided her the guidance that she needs to grow and mature into a flourishing adult success?

What if I’ve failed?

It’s not like she was born at 5 pounds, 6 oz. with a 50 pound instruction manual covering the first 18 years of ups, downs, challenges, and triumphs. What gave me the ability and the gifts to create a successful adult from that teeny little creature?? What if I did it all wrong? She was my “practice” run, after all! She was the first of the three. The “guinea pig” of sorts. Believe me—I’ve learned and experienced a lot over the past 16 years and I do think I’ve become a better parent for all of the effort. But, is she prepared for the world ahead? Or have I failed her?

She’s almost an adult—she’ll actually be 18 when she graduates high school—which means I’m potentially awfully close to graduating from the term parent to grandparent in less than a decade as well (another age defining realization that I’m not quite prepared to address today).

I’ve spent a huge chunk of my life preparing the girls to be independent, successful and free (and have years and years to go for the younger ones)….How will the oldest fare as an adult in only 2 short years? This is worse than any college level p-chem exam I ever took (well, maybe). The answers to the past 16 years were just not as straightforward (and my college p-chem professor was an educational disaster!) I admit I’ve made mistakes—but, I hope I’ve passed the most important course of my mom life!

Have any age defining realizations to share as we start this New Year? If you do not want to publicly comment, send me an email! I’d love to hear from you!

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  1. I fear a lot of things when my boys get older. I try not to think about it to much yet. I am now following your blog. I hope you'll come by and check mine out at Have a wonderful day! BJ



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