Some signs our kids are growing up and changes are on the way (wah, sob, sniff):

*Today is Squid’s 19th birthday.  Yesterday he returned from a trip with two friends to our condo in Moab–the first time he’s been there on his own, without a parent there.  They survived.  And had fun.  On September 24 he will leave us for two years to serve a mission for our church in Uruguay.  For four + years we have been a family of nine in this house.  In September the number will go down to eight.

*Huh has been taking online college courses since January.  Although just graduating from highschool in June, she is nearly finished with her freshman year of college.  She is working to save money for housing (her tuition is taken care of) and in January hopes to leave home for a college out of state.  In January the number in our house will go down to seven.

*Huh was recently diagnosed with an ovarian cyst the size of a lemon.  Because she was on a pain medication that makes her drowsy, I drove her to a follow-up doctor’s appointment.  But that was all I did.  She is eighteen, so she saw the doctor on her own while I sat in the waiting room and read back issues of celebrity magazines.  This was the  first time that I didn’t get to be a part of my daughter’s medical treatment.  She’s still my little girl, isn’t she????  I don’t know if I’m ready for this new sense of independence.  Huh opted to continue on pain medication rather than have surgery.  She has started a new job at a local gym and doesn’t want to miss any more work.  Her decision.  Made on her own.  My little girl is taking charge of her own health now.

*Earlier this week three of the four girls felt like being “domestic.”  Hoob was craving pancakes and asked if she could make pancakes for breakfast.  Of course I said yes!  On her own, she made enough pancakes to feed all of us and I got a break from being the breakfast kween.  Later, the same day, Mack was watching me chop up peppers from our garden to freeze and said that she felt like doing some “chopping or something in the kitchen.”  I suggested she use up some of the zucchini from our garden and make zucchini bread.  She went to work and, on her own, made four loaves of zucchini bread (we froze two to be eaten later) and had enough zucchini left over to grind up and freeze to make future loaves during the winter.  Later that night, Huh, on her own, made an enchilada casserole for the family for dinner.  Again, I got a break from meal prep.  I like it when the girls are feeling “domestic!”

*Juju has been asked to help with a group of special-needs teenagers.  The commitment is once a week for the next year.  She is excited because she wants a career helping the handicapped.  For the next year she will get to learn how to help and understand those with special needs and see where her interests concerning the handicapped lie.

*Shroom has learned that he gets to be one of the starters on his sophomore football team.

*Yawlin had friends over one afternoon and, on his own, fixed all of them Ramen noodles.  The friends claimed they’d never had Ramen before and that they liked the noodles.  I guess Yawlin did okay.

Some of the signs of growing up and independence cause me slight panic and a little sadness.  Other signs make me feel proud and excited about the future for my kids.  As much as I would like to force them to stop growing and remain at home forever, I know that my real job as a parent is to get them to the point that they fly, on their own.  If that is accomplished, I can sit back and say that I did okay.

And, Squid, if you are reading this…Happy Birthday!