18 and Life

Don’t go. Don’t not live here anymore. Don’t not need me to make you a grilled cheese. Don’t not walk into the kitchen every afternoon, holding too many books. Don’t not be up late, watching scary movies that make you crawl into bed with me. Don’t not eat guacamole and chips all Saturday afternoon with your friends. Don’t not lie with me on the gray couch, feet to feet, reading and talking. Don’t not take naps in the screened in porch, that is both of our favorite room in the house. Don’t remind me that all those years of babyhood that you yourself cannot recall, are over. Don’t force me into a new chapter, where you really aren’t my baby. Don’t not be sitting in the basement the night before a younger sibling’s birthday, making elaborate and funny posters. Don’t not get chocolate on your face when you eat. Don’t not be here and call out that you’re going for a late night Chickie’s run with your friends. Don’t not order a million little funny things from amazon, often gifts for the rest of us. Don’t not be here to play with the dogs you love so much. Don’t forget all the ballet lessons we went to when we lived in the City. Certain things you were too young to remember, so that is my job; remembering. For example, how I used to park your stroller in the bathroom while I took a shower, so I could sing to you and watch you. The park on 84th we went to every day to watch the boats in the Hudson River. The funny voices I used to read to you in (I began reading Eloise to you when you were six weeks old). All the museum trips to the Museum of “Natural Mystery”. The middle of the night nursing during your infancy, while “we” watched the Wonder Years on mute. Don’t not leave your room a complete mess, and don’t not need me to tell you it must be cleaned up pronto. Don’t not sleep in your bed until 2:30 pm, exactly like I did at your age. Don’t not be there when I go check on you. Who will I kiss in your room? Don’t go, at least not yet. Don’t not miss me. Don’t not want to come home and be back here.

Go. Go enjoy this most exciting new phase in your young adult life. Go travel. Go make new friends who are worthy of getting to know you. Go hear different points of view that will expand your mind. Go dance. Go see how people live in other countries. Go try new foods (more vegetables please). Go feel independent, yet use common sense and caution. Go make mistakes. Go forgive yourself for said mistakes, just commit to learning from them. Go find what moves you in life. Go find people who will bring out the best in you, and keep them. Go explore and wander. Go search. Go question. Go continue making your family so proud of the human you have always been, and who you keep growing into. Go forth with gratitude and mindfulness, pay attention to everything. Go keep what serves you, go release what won’t. Go read. Go be happy but miss us. Go far away so it will remind you of what coming home feels like. Go with excitement in your eyes and curiosity in your spirit, and a sense of safety in your heart. Go smile at people for no reason. Go be a source of good and comfort in the world. Go put into practice what I have taught you, even if you don’t want to admit it:). Go be a kid before college. Go be a young adult post high school. Go use all five senses in all you experience. Go be yourself. Go slowly, there’s no rush. Figuring yourself out takes a lot of time. Go, knowing your family and home await you.