18 is just a number
I am on the brink of legal adulthood. With a late May birthday, I am one of the kids in my class who wont turn 18 until right before graduation, yet I can already taste the independence and responsibility that 18 will bring. I am in the home stretch, so close to being a legal adult.
This is the argument I always fire back at my parents when they try to restrict me from doing something. My mom and dad arent strict in the slightest, but they do place some constraints on me that are, in my opinion, unnecessary.
Like everybody, I find it frustrating to be controlled. I butt heads with them on some of these issues, my mom especially. The latest argument was their concern about leaving me home alone.
My parents planned a trip for two nights and decided to leave me on my own, but with a family friend checking in during the evening and spending the nights with me. At first I didnt think much of it, but as I sat on the topic more, I grew offended that their first thought was that I would need someone to watch me.
My annoyance caused a slight rift that quickly escalated into a passionate dispute, and in the heat of the moment I accused my mom of not trusting me. I told her I didnt need a caretaker to watch me when they went out of town. She said Katie, its not for you. Its for me.
That shut me up.
It was a moment of clarity. I quickly retreated upstairs, embarrassed that I hadnt understood before. Its not me that they dont trust; its the world. It doesnt matter to them that Im almost 18. It didnt matter when I was 4, and it wont matter when Im 30, either. They will always worry about me.
And I think it might be something I will never truly understand until I have a child myself. My parents watched me grow from a fragile baby girl into the person I am now. They have gotten older just as I have, but its bizarre that theyve watched my whole life develop, while I have only seen 17 years of their lives.
I know that they care about me in a biological parenting way I cannot understand, just as my 81-year-old grandmother still calls my mom to make sure shes okay when she sees something bad in the news about Oregon.
And then theres the boy in my psychology class, who revealed one day last week that hes only spoken to his mom once in the past year. She called him on his birthday, spoke with him briefly and wished him a happy 16th on the day he was turning 17.
I cant even imagine a mother like that. It is unfathomable to me, because mine has always been there for me through everything. Both my parents have always supported me, and have always watched out for me.
And I can roll my eyes at their rules, and slam doors in frustration, and accuse them of being paranoid, but I realize that every single thing my parents do for me is to ensure the best life possible. Every restriction and rule they place is to keep me safe and on the right track.
With every choice they make, they consider my interests (and my brothers) first. They embrace me as the adult Im becoming and give me so much freedom because they realize I am not inferior or incompetent, but regardless they will always want to protect me.
They are selfless and generous and supportive, and have never forgotten how old Im turning on my birthday. My problem of rule-setting parents really isnt a problem at all.
So even though turning 18 is on my horizon, I will always be their Little Bear Girl, their Peanut, their Katzu.
Lakeridge High School senior Katie Calo is a regular columnist for the Review and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Add a comment