It seems like just yesterday she was a beautiful, bald-headed baby.
Today she is a beautiful, curly haired young woman.
Last week my baby turned twenty. You always hear from everybody older than you when your kids are young "Enjoy this time. Before you know it they are grown up and out of the house." You think, "Yeah, yeah, I've got lots of time, I have to get them through teething, potty training and teaching them to ride their bike".
Then you get to that first day of Kindergarten and you realize that those people older than you were right. They are already leaving the house for all or part of a day, 5 days a week.
Yet, you still think you have time, because next comes the running around stage. Sleepovers, sports practices and games, art camps and music lessons. You are so tired at the end of the day that you can't even think about life next week, let alone 10 years from now.
Now it's their first day of high school, wow, how did that happen. There's still the running around, sports camps, before and after school activities, a night at the movies, hanging out at the mall. You just can't wait for them to get their license.
That day is here, you are standing in line at the DMV thinking about your precious child out there on the road with all those lunatic drivers. This is the day you have been waiting for, the day they have that piece of paper that says they can drive by themselves. But really, you want to take it all back and put them back in that super safe car seat.
As they drive away for that first time, you stand in the driveway and realize they are slipping away. Their independence has begun.
Lightening quick two years pass and they are walking across that stage and someone hands them their diploma. They have made it, you have made it, all the way through high school. You are so proud of them, they got good grades, they are responsible, everybody likes them, and they got into a good college.
Here you are, at that place everybody told you about when your kids were young. But...that can't be right, we haven't done this yet, or this yet, or that yet. So that summer you try to cram in as many of those "this and that" moments as you possibly can.
Then in the blink of an eye, that day is here. Move in day. They are excited, scared, ready and not ready all at the same time. You are excited, scared, ready and not ready.
You know they will be fine, this is what you raised them to be; independent, strong, loving, smart and kind. That doesn't make it any easier, but you must let them go, so they can spread their wings and fly. You will be amazed at the person they become while they are away from you. Somebody they could never be if they had stayed by your side.
So you young ones, take some advice from somebody older than you. Hold them close for now and do all the "this and that" things that you possibly can. Someday soon enough you will be in my place, giving the same advice to those younger than you.