My baby (on the right in the picture above with blue dreads, this was on her birthday having brunch with our favorite pals) has recently turned 18 and is trying to spread her wings. She’s part of the reason I will be blogging more often because I need an outlet for the battles we will have as she explores her newly acquired adulthood. She’s been 18 for a week now, has 2 tattoos and doesn’t want me to drive her and her friends places because; “Mom, that’s embarrassing, I’m an adult now.” Really?
A little background on my little adult. She started college at the age of 16, she’s now in her 2nd year and will be getting ready to transfer to a university soon majoring in clinical psychology. She has always been that child out of the box, conventional parenting didn’t work for her. It’s been a challenge raising her and as an adult the challenges will become more intense as she tries to assert her adult-ness.
When it was time to learn the alphabet, no workbooks for this kid. We tried and at the end we were both frustrated and in tears. Instead, we used chocolate pudding. I would spread the pudding on a cookie sheet and she couldn’t lick her finger until she wrote the correct letter or word. No coloring within the lines and the only arts and crafts she’ll do was toe painting.
Now, my baby is no longer a baby and is determined to claim her legal right to be treated as an adult.
Her style has always been different. In elementary, she had to wear a uniform, to express her uniqueness she would purposely mismatch her socks (way before it was a style) or accessorize. In middle school, with no uniforms as a requirement…the fashion diva was born. Due to her uniqueness and unwillingness to conform to the norm she was teased and bullied, a lot. The self-harming started. In high school, the hair dying, extensions and piercings commenced. The bullying continued. Suicide attempts and ideation took over. We’ve finally had enough and took her out of school in 9th grade to home-school her. A daunting task and I was scared out of my mind. However, it was the happiest I have ever seen her in a long time. My regret was not having done this sooner, unfortunately, as a single parent working over 60 hours a week I didn’t think I was capable of homeschooling an independent, strong willed, hormonal child. With the help of intense therapy and lots of love and care we were able to heal the wounds bullying caused.
Now, that this strong, young lady is a new adult; will the world finally accept her for who she is or tear her down and spit her out? This is my worst fear. Is she really ready for adulting? Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with adulting myself, will my baby be able to handle the responsibilities and freedom adulting brings?
Time will only tell. My oldest daughter didn’t handle it too well and now she says it was the worst year of her life. I can only hope that my youngest is going to be stronger and more responsible than her sister.
One day at a time and a lot of self care. It’s like I’m going through labor again with all this deep breathing I’ve been doing.
Inhale, exhale. Repeat.