I wrote this blog post on Alli’s 18th birthday almost half a year ago, but never published it. There are a LOT of emotions that go into having a child turn 18, and we’ve been on a bit of a wild ride since that time that we are still working out. But as I re-read this post draft today, I realized I did want to preserve this story and the feelings from the day.
I woke up today as the parent of an “adult” child. It doesn’t feel like yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital. I didn’t just blink and suddenly have an 18 year old. It mostly feels like ages and ages of forever. I try so hard to remember what it was like back then but it’s foggy and I can’t pull up the memories clearly enough.
I was 21, a newlywed army wife 800 or so miles away from family. We lived in the crappiest apartment next to the army base. We called it the ghetto apartment. It was $415 a month and the carpet was worn through. There were no screens on the windows but it didn’t matter. You couldn’t open them without hearing the neighbors tv or smelling somebody cooking fried chicken. We had one little car that we shared, a whole lot of hand me down furniture, and we were young and in love and happy.
We didn’t find out if our firstborn was going to be a boy or girl ahead of time. We wanted to, but the army only provided one ultrasound and she decided not to cooperate. We had names picked out (Collin for a boy, Allissa for a girl). I DESPERATELY wanted a girl. My life and all happiness depended on it. I’m thankful to Corbin and Pierce for later teaching me that boys are pretty awesome, too.
The moment finally came on August 2, 1998. I woke up in labor at 3:30 a.m. and nine long hours later it was time for us to become parents. My heart was racing waiting to hear if I got my girl. I had a moment of panic that it would be a boy and I would not love him. The baby arrived and the doctor told Brian to announce the gender to me. My dear husband looked up and shouted “It’s a baby!”
Many “blinks” have gone by to get us from then to now. She has survived the arrival of five new siblings and tried her hand at soccer, gymnastics, cheer, ballet, theater, and piano lessons. We have gotten through great years in school and not-so-great years, and making a permanent decision to homeschool in 10th grade ended up being the best fit. Alli has gotten to live in three different states and experience life in different (VERY different) parts of the country, and is happy and blessed to have rounded out a great childhood here where our hearts are happiest.
It has been a wild ride. Alli has kept me on my toes for 18 years and forced me to grow and go places I didn’t think I could. She is serious and full of empathy. She is passionate, sometimes to a fault. She loves God, her family, long car rides, and music. She has a gift and love for working with children and those with special needs. Most importantly, she has a love for God and is on fire for the Lord with her faith. She is fearless about sharing it and I can see Him working in her life every single day. If Brian and I did nothing right on this parenting journey except get our kids to church and teach them that their faith should be top priority while encouraging them to make it their own, I’m good with that. And God gets all the glory.
Time can seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye, but it is still okay to blink because that is life. I am so excited to see what is next in this journey of hers! Happiest of birthdays to the one who made me a mom!!!!