Big milestones require a proper ceremony. Getting promoted from Brownies to Girl Scouts had a wonderful bridging ceremony that made you feel really special. Marriage has a whole bunch of special elements which are designed to help you move into a new phase of life. Retirement brings the obligatory gold watch to signify something (maybe that you will have too much time on your hands?) not sure about that one. Anyway, ceremony is a big part of recognizing life-changing passages.
So what to do for a daughter who is turning 18? How do I show her that I have faith in her power to make good decisions, without sounding preachy? How do I convey my love and respect for all that she has become in her brief 18 years? How do I give her a gentle nudge without driving her away? And how do I instill in her a sense of the long line of mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers who have passed this milestone ahead of her and who stand in silent support of all her hopes and dreams?
Her path will not be the same as mine, but it feels right for her. Maybe the best that I can offer her is a blank notebook - pages that are ready to be filled with her experiences and an endless world of opportunities to write her own story.