I suspected I’d be a hot mess. Or melancholy at the very least. Perhaps bittersweet.
Instead I’m just planning my victory lap.
Hannah is my only “totally typical” kid. She was my first, and drop kicked my into motherhood, and then we added one child with Down syndrome, a niece who became our child and another child with Down syndrome plus.
Hannah’s it. My only child who I parented all the way through and who I will send off to adulthood in a fairly normal fashion.
And on the eve of her 18th birthday, I’m all like, “hey, we didn’t do half bad.”
But get this. We don’t know exactly what she’s doing next year. A photography internship and some online classes are on the docket, but we don’t have the big college acceptance letter share that I so eagerly anticipated when she was younger.
And I don’t even mind a little bit.
You see, Hannah is my only “totally typical” child, but she’s really not so typical.
I remember looking into her newborn eyes knowing that I must prepare her to fly. I sensed her free and adventurous spirit, and knew that her path would not be a common one.
As she grew, I saw and embraced her free spirit, her artistic ability, her deep insight and love of music. I observed her eclectic tastes and her certainty of what she liked and disliked. Her willingness to try new things and speak her mind. And I loved her more for every offbeat step she took.
In a few months she graduates, and I’m cool with that too. She wants to travel, and photograph the world and create art, pursuing a simple and free path.
As I launch her in that direction, I feel as if I’m preparing for a victory lap. My role as her mother will change, I will no longer be chasing the finish line, from here on out it will be the finale of a race well run.
Truth be told I hope she permits me a few laps, because I think I’m in for some serious fun parenting this adult.