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My baby’s all grown up…

I entered parenting in a somewhat non-traditional way. I became a new (step)mom at 25, to an adorable 7-year-old girl. And my life was forever changed.

That adorable 7-year-old is now an equally adorable, 22-year-old, newly minted college graduate. Her graduation ceremony (at the same university where I attended graduate school for a short time) was last week and I can’t put into words the joy I felt sharing that day with her. Her path has not been an easy one. She has dealt with family crises and significant health issues, as well as the more typical drama that young adults face, and she has persevered. She has her degree, she has her health, and she’s happy in her relationships. I now sigh, with relief and pride and joy.

It’s exciting to be 20-something and to be on the cusp of “what’s next.” It’s a little scary too. She’s saying goodbye to friends and trying to find her first job (she’s working now but not in a Job with a capital J) in the middle of a recession.

How is it that nearly 20 years have passed since I was in this same situation and yet it seems like just a couple of years ago?

As exciting as it is to be at the beginning of it all (and to have a 20-year-old’s metabolism), I wouldn’t trade with her for a minute. I’m not one of those people who ever says, “Oh, if I only could go back to x year or experience, knowing what I know now.” Nope. I am very satisfied to be where I am right now, with the perspective I have gained through slogging through all the life stages that have come my way since then.

In some ways, I’m in a very similar boat to hers. During her last year of college, I’ve moved, I’ve divorced, I’ve started over. I’m trying to figure out what might be next for me creatively or professionally, and how to balance all that with the responsibilities that already exist within my life (especially single parenting two highly spirited young boys). But at 40, I recognize that what’s meant to be, will be, and that there really are no “wrong” paths, per se. I worry less about what’s next, because I recognize that what’s meant to unfold, will, as long as I remain open to the possibilities…