No, I’m not talking about the recreational pot shops I saw in Colorado last week. Today, I’m celebrating something else: everyone in my family is an adult.
There’s nothing like having my youngest turn 18 to toss me down the rabbit hole in a swirl of melancholy and joy.
I almost got lost in a royal maze so strewn with neon reminders like “old,” “wrinkled,” and “empty nest this way,” that I wanted to beg the queen, “off with my head!” But I escaped and swigged a potion that swelled my brain with memories of everything from giving birth to going on college tours.
There was Ciarán’s extraordinary culinary experiments, Aislínn’s impressive leading roles, Séan’s elaborate Beanie Baby productions. And who could forget all things Star Wars? For years, the boys wouldn’t get in their bunk beds without the “Essential Guides” to droids, vessels, planets and intergalactic characters. Then came our trip to Maine, when I read the first Harry Potter out loud for most of the 10-hour drive – without a single fight in the back seat!
Like the Cheshire Cat, I could smile and disappear into this reverie forever: the hikes, the first teeth, the traumas we’ve turned into jokes. Yet when I come up for air and look at my three adult children, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and pride. They’ve introduced me to so much, from dinosaurs to Louis C.K. They’ve brought more curiosity, amazement and patience into my life. Plus, they’ve always made me laugh.
But more than anything, they’ve grown into people who I truly like and respect. And while I know I’ll always be their parent, I’m happy to be welcoming the phase where we also are friends.