January 15, 2013
Our youngest child turned 21 this past weekend. She’s legal, meaning she is now solely responsible for anything she does, in all respects. She doesn’t need my permission or my signature for anything any more. She’s no longer a baby.
I can say without a doubt that my husband and I are the kind of parents who have been really involved in our children’s lives. I don’t think we were the kind who were too involved – hoverers, I believe they’re called. But when they hurt, we’ve hurt. When they’ve succeeded, we’ve soared right along with them.
Thinking about all this over the weekend, I was reminded of the kind of parents I had. Oh they took care of us, but I can’t ever recall that they were as informed or as involved with our young lives as we have been with our children. In fact, I don’t think my dad even knew where I went to college until he came to my graduation.
All four of our children are 21 or older now. In a way, that feels kind of freeing. In another way, it feels like we’ve softly closed and now locked another door behind us, and when that happens, I always get a little melancholy.
I will say that for the first time ever, my husband and I were not involved in the party planning for her 21st. In fact, we’ve only seen a few photos from the big event, but I have heard a few stories. They had fun, she blew off a little steam, and we had our more laid back family celebration on Sunday.
From what I hear, it was probably best that way.
•Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of two books: “Southern Fried White Trash” and her newest, “Red Lipstick and Clean Underwear” (released October 2012). Townsend has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 Television News and CNN, and is often a guest on television and radio shows nationwide. She currently travels throughout the southeast, meeting readers at festivals and book signings, and speaking publicly at various events.•