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  • Sonya Leigh Anderson


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We’re celebrating a birthday today. Nils is eighteen, and yes, this is the official age of adulthood in 47 states, including ours. We discussed this over lunch at Applebee’s, and I Googled it later, acquiring a very interesting assortment of facts on the topic. Wikipedia says this: It is the moment when minors cease to be considered children and assume legal control over their persons, actions, and decisions, thus terminating the control and legal responsibilities of their parents or guardian over them. My online source went on to point out that the age does not necessarily correspond to the mental or physical maturity of an individual. Point taken.

(There’s also a distinction between age of adulthood and age of license. The latter can come earlier or later, which is why a minor can drive, but a just-turned adult cannot rent a car. Just saying.)

So Nils. You are THAT. (Unedited by Dad.) An official adult. You can marry, buy a house, and work fulltime. And probably most exciting of all, in just eight short days you can vote! (LOL) You can also clean your own room, do your own laundry, and throw away trash. (It says that, right there in Wikipedia, too. Look it up:)

But for real. Nils, you’re becoming a man – and it’s more than a birthday. You. My baby for most of your life. Smaller in stature, but never in heart. Of all of my boys you’ve been most independent in all the right ways. On top of your game and a baller at life.

Interesting. Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of conversation about being “adult.” At church and online, everyone is talking about the interesting dynamics in our current day’s culture about what it means to grow up. There’s even a new word – adulting. (My spellcheck doesn’t like it, but it’s legit in Google.) It refers to the season between the official age and the actual behavior. And there’s all kinds of research about how long this is taking and why.

All this to say – Nils, I know you’ll be ready. I’m not at all worried. You’ve been doing your own sort of adulting for quite some time. But the flipside is this. Don’t be in a hurry. Really. You are a joy and pleasure to your dad and me, and you’re welcome to do your adulting here at home for a while.

Earlier today our family of boys-turning-men sat around a table for a birthday celebration. Laughing and talking and enjoying each other. Sharing our stories. Discussing life. And there at the table I had this memory. Just about two years ago with five of us gathered for somebody’s birthday. It might have been mine. There was rich conversation and genuine humor. I remember thinking how much I enjoyed being mom of young men. But I also knew life was radically changing. An adoption and wedding and everything different. And I remember wondering – would this happen again?

It did. Today. Today was special. A great celebration with all my young men. Thanks, Nils, for turning 18.

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