Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wake up call

The oldest Huffman girl just turned 18. Yep, there’s no denying it. We are now the parents of two children — and one newly minted adult.
At great personal risk, on the morning of Oldest Daughter’s birthday, I ventured into her room before I left for work to wish her a “happy birthday.”
I rubbed her back to wake her up, but I think the only reason she opened her eyes was because she knew it would be bad juju to yell at her mom on her birthday.
Later, I texted her from work.
Happy birthday, I wrote.
You are now officially an adult. This means you can vote. Or be on a jury. Or become a Marine.
I got no response.
I take it that means she’s not ready to enlist just yet.
My child-free co-workers helpfully pointed out all the other things our daughter can do now that she’s 18.
“She can buy cigarettes,” said one.
“She can get married to a scary biker dude in Reno,” said another. Or gamble and play the Lotto.
Wow. Thank you, co-workers, for suggesting those amazing options for our new 18-year-old. I now have a fresh set of worries to be anxious about.
I figured while I was at it, I might as well binge on the parent-of-a-new-18-year-old anxiety and get it out of my system.
I found this list on a Yahoo board: “100 Things You Can Do Now That You’re 18.”
Oh, there are some wonderful new “choices” in which our new adult can now partake.
For example: Change your name, get a tattoo, get a piercing, buy spray paint, sue someone, be sued, purchase liquid white-out, pawn something, adopt a child, be on “Jerry Springer,” get a hotel room, buy nitrous oxide and skydive.
The list got even better.
A new 18-year-old can also: Chew tobacco, go to an adult jail, purchase Nicorette gum, buy a monkey, carry a gun and rent a port-a-potty.
Some weren’t all that bad:
Our daughter can now get a Netflix membership, buy insurance, donate blood, get a non-prepaid cellphone, begin earning credit and move out of the parental units’ house.
Some were downright aspirational:
She can become a mentor, become an undercover cop, work full-time, lease an apartment, rent a house, finance a car, be a manager and start her own business.
Maybe I should come up with my own list: “100 Things Your Parents Can’t Wait For You To Do Now That You’re 18.”
Samples: Stop teasing your sisters. Make your bed more than once a month. Take your little sister to the mall. Write thank-you notes without endless reminders from your mother. Explain what a “meme” is. Start paying rent.
But I think Nos. 96 and 100 from the Yahoo list are what our daughter will like the best:
“Make your own decisions” and “Have the freedom and independence you didn’t have before.”
Congrats, kid. I mean, congrats, young adult.

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