When she’s almost 17, she’ll come downstairs in her pajamas, hair in a messy bun, fresh pillow marks on her cheek, and you’ll swear you’ve never beheld a more dazzling creature in your entire life.

When she’s almost 17, she’ll want to share her love for reptiles with others, because she’s finally realized when you share your joy with others, it multiplies manifold. She’ll start her high school’s first ever reptile club, and grow it into a thriving, reptile-loving community.

When she’s almost 17, she’ll still occasionally sit on your lap, and when she does you’ll wonder how this tall young woman ever fit into the crook of your arm. In that same moment you’ll swear it was only yesterday this tall young woman was a baby in your arms.

When she’s almost 17, she’ll sometimes be silent, uttering only the briefest responses to your questions as she retreats to her bedroom. And while you know this occasional silence is normal and age appropriate, in those moments you’ll miss having a home punctuated by the rhythmic melody of her voice.

When she’s almost 17, you’ll fall in love with her friends. They’re chatty, warm, sweet and polite. Whenever they come over you’ll make excuses to hang around. Their youthful exuberance seems almost contagious, and you’ll illogically posit that if you stand close enough, you might be fortunate enough to catch it.

When she’s almost 17, you’ll look back on those terrifying car rides with her at the steering wheel, and wish you could do it all over again. Because now she’ll be maneuvering that two-ton vehicle without your white-knuckle advice, and you’re not sure either of you is ready for that.

When she’s almost 17, you’ll be in awe of her poise and strength. But you’ll also know her in those darker places, where insecurity and sadness dwell. And you’ll explain to her this is how it should be, because experiencing both the highs and the lows will ensure her strength is always tempered by compassion.

When she’s almost 17 you’ll swear this is the best age, even though you’ve said this every day since the day she was born. You’ll know for sure this journey to 17 has been a blessing and a gift.

And you’ll know you wouldn’t change a single thing.

This article originally appeared on No Sick Days For Mom– Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer, Writer


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Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer 

Cheryl Gottlieb Boxer resides in New Jersey, where she micromanages a husband, her mostly grown children, and a confounding cockapoo. Her writing has appeared in Kveller, Grown & Flown, Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Motherly, and other online and print publications. You can also find her on Facebook.