My 19th birthday started out just like any other day. I was woken by my dad knocking on my door and calling out in a sing-song voice, "Wakey-wakey rise and shine!" There is honestly no more annoying way for a teenager to be woken than with a happy parental sing-song voice (sorry Daddy!) We all got ready for work and classes, I drove in with Dad like every other day (he worked at the university I attended). And when we parted ways, he asked if I would want a ride home.
That was it. Notice what's missing? And, no, there was no surprise party. They just forgot. You can imagine how special I felt on my special day.
But my friends made up for that with lots of well-wishes and plans for the occasion. And eventually one of my parents looked at the calendar on her desk and the other bumped into a friend of mine and they figured it out. Parent guilt is awesome. I will admit that I may just have milked that one for a while.
To this day they still swear they didn't actually forget. It was just a morning fog kinda thing. Yeah. Sure. In any case an ice cream cake had appeared by the time I got home to change and go out, so that worked.
Our "little" boy's big day was not forgotten. I texted him in the morning and was surprised to receive an immediate response. It seems he too was woken early, by a parent, on his day. Although he had no plans. His mom just wanted to wish him happy birthday and give him his gift before she went to work. Can't say as I blame her. He too bailed on all his parents on his big day and went out to celebrate with friends. I was a little peeved at myself that my first reaction was shock. I mean, why would he celebrate legality with boring old middle aged parents? I certainly didn't.
And he naturally marked the occasion by hitting the LCBO (liquor store, for those not in Ontario) with his newly legal ID to purchase some "refreshments" to start the evening. It's a whole new world.
I still remember my first legal drink. It was a strawberry daiquiri at the campus bar. (Girlie, I know.) Quickly followed by a second. People do seem to like to buy you drinks on your 19th. I didn't think to ask what the Teen bought, but I am confident it was a much more manly beverage.
He got home safely, slept most of the day, and was not hungover. So that's all good, but this adjustment to having an adult child in the house feels very odd. He is still a child in so many ways, and still needs to learn a lot of life lessons. I guess it's our job to figure out when he actually needs a push or guidance from us (probably rarely) and when he needs to go and figure it out for himself. We've never been big on "fixing" things for our kids, since the setbacks and fails are important learning experiences. We hope we are setting them up with the skills they need to find their own success.
I think we've taught him that being a grown-up means a whole lot more than being able to drive and order a legal beer when you go out (and definitely not at the same time). So I think he'll be just fine. We're pretty proud of our guy.