My life has been a series of passages. This week was a very significant passage for me. My youngest daughter, Kelsey, turned 21 years young and in our culture this is a significant rite of passage. This is the passage into adulthood.
It’s not that one day you are a child and the next day you’re an adult, it is a passage. This passage has been going on since my oldest daughter Madison, turned 21, a little over 3 years ago. I believe there is a physiological shift in all of us when we leave our teenage years and move into adulthood. I noticed that with both of my daughters……they way they looked at the world and the way they related with me. Now both of my daughters have crossed this threshold and they have both far exceeded any expectation I might have had of what wonderful is. I am seeing them as adults and treat them that way……. even though it is sometimes hard not to revert back into treating them like children……that is my stuff and my issues, not theirs.
As I look around at some of my friends who have younger children, I can see the shift that has taken place. My role is no longer a day to day survival role….it is one of support, compassion, love, teaching, and holding enough space where they can grow and make their own path in life. It is sometimes confusing for me as I was defined for years by being a father to children and now I am a father to adults.
I have attempted to understand what really happens when kids grow up and the best I can tell is that when we start out as children we are 100% dependent on our parents and our adolescent and teenage years are a gradual defining and developing of who we are as our own person. This process brings life from happening to us…. to us living and owning our own life. That is the passage into adulthood and the difference between “it got lost” and “I lost it”.
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