My oldest daughter, my first baby turned sixteen on March 25th. I asked her what she wanted to do to celebrate – dinner with friends? An overnight in San Francisco?
She decided that she wanted me to take her to Japantown for lunch and shopping. Just the two of us, plus my youngest. I offered to bring friends, to make it more of a festive thing, but she wanted to just hang with me and her sister, and you guys, I swear I am sort of a slacker parent, but that made me feel like I’ve done something right, if my kid wants to spend time with me and her sister on her 16th birthday.
Anyway, we had a great time shopping for anime themed clothing and key chains and eating mochi on sticks and okonomiyaki and drinking boba tea with cotton candy on top and taking all the time in the world to browse every single store. Granted, this was on the Saturday before her actual birthday, because MOTHER OF THE YEAR ALERT I booked her orthodontic adjustment for her birthday afternoon. She wanted bulgogi for dinner that night, so we grilled it up and savored it before the next MOTHER OF THE YEAR ALERT morning when I drove her to get her four wisdom teeth removed.
Happy 16th Birthday! You’re up a year, down four teeth, and bruised like a prize fighter!
We spent the next few days keeping up with a rigorous schedule of pain meds and antibiotics that required like eight alarms on my phone, and resulted in me stumbling around at 3 am, smashing pills into spoons of jelly or greek yogurt so she could swallow them without opening her mouth very wide, while half asleep. It was just like when she was a baby, but with more ice packs, and the whining involved actual words!
These last few years have been a blur in so many ways. My mom warned me, of course, that the high school years would fly by. My kid is half way through high school, nowhere close to even getting her driver’s license, talking about getting a job this summer, and basically freaking me out with how she’s rounding the corner towards independence and adulthood. She’s thinking about college, dreaming about her own place someday (with a full complement of her friends, of course) and really starting to embrace the opportunities ahead.