Rites of Passage, or Stops on the Schoolbus of Life

Kingsfavorite by Susan Scott

Labor Day’s done, and now comes the annual ritual at the school bus stop across from my driveway: tiny children with Elmo backpacks, brand-new sneakers, and too-short haircuts, hopping up and down with excitement as their moms try not to weep and their dads record it all with the family video-cam.  Yes, it’s the first day of kindergarten, an American rite of passage if ever there was one, the first bona-fide step away from home and towards adulthood, or at least as much adulthood (i.e., solo trips to the restroom) as can be credited in five-year-olds.

Farther up the street, at the bus stop for the middle schoolers, it’s a slightly different story.  They’re righteous and rammy and slugging one another with abandon.  They’re almost-big-kids, with their parents relegated to the next driveway, holding coffee cups instead of cameras. 

At the top of the hill is the stop for the high school bus, and there’s nary a parent in sight – except, perhaps,153681childrenboardingschoolbuspost that anxious mom with a freshman daughter, slumped down in the parked minivan where she hopes no one will see her.  These kids are barely awake, languidly texting as they wait, while one couple elevates their morning pulse with a tangled kiss or two. There’s a jaded, been-there-done-all-that air to this bus-stop, which is of course blown away by the speeding (waaaaaay over the limit), honking cars driven by lucky juniors and seniors, freed forever from bus-purgatory by drivers’ licenses. 

But there are other rites still ahead for those seniors: SAT’s, prom, college applications, and graduation.  Looming ahead are college and jobs, first houses and mortgages, marriages and babies, and the whole cycle begins again.

Such are the milestones for modern American kids: first day of school, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first cell-phone and driver’s license.  There are zillions of others, of course, from first solo in the ballet recital to first home run in Little League, the first sip of forbidden beer to a whole lot of other forbidden things that parents would rather not think about.  While three years separates my own son (21) and daughter (18), they’re both excited about an upcoming first that they’ll share at the same time: voting in a presidential election.

All of which made me think of the big events that marked transition in the lives of young people in the past, say, two or three hundred years ago.  School was seldom in the picture, especially school beyond the barest basics.  If your father was a farmer, that first step towards maturity could be the first day you were deemed Barbaravilliers old enough to go out in the fields to work for the day, instead of being kept at home to help with your mother’s chores, or, if you were a girl, the first time you were considered responsible enough to oversee the kitchen fire and midday meal.

In my three historical novels, the 17th century women who became my heroines were considered self-sufficient at ages that would astonish modern mothers.  Sarah Jennings (Duchess) was a maid of honor in Charles II’s court soon after her thirteenth birthday.  By the time she was nineteen, Barbara Palmer (demurely painted as a teen-aged bride, left) (Royal Harlot) had already left behind her country upbringing, conducted passionate affairs with several different gentlemen, married, and become the mistress of the king of England.  Youngest of all was Nell Gwyn (King’s Favorite), who had found her first “protector” at twelve, and four years had become the most popular comic actress of her time.

If you were a boy of a higher rank, perhaps the most important first step would be your “breeching”, theGovernessboy shift from wearing a babyish gown to breeches like the men, or perhaps it would be the first time you were permitted to ride a proper horse instead of a pony.  If you were a girl, it could be the first time you were allowed to wear your hair up, or to attend a party with dancing at a neighboring inn.

Depending on your family’s circumstances, your father could sign apprenticeship papers that would take you away for years to learn a trade.  He could send you into service in a rich man’s house, or give you over to the enlistment officer for a career in the military, or marry you off to a suitable mate.

If you lived near one of the new mills or factories, your father could find you a job working dawn to dusk, even if you were only seven years old, and contribute your earnings to supporting the entire family. If you were more Conscription_2 enterprising, you could bid farewell to your family forever and emigrate to a foreign land –– America, Australia, India –– where fortunes could be made and land was free for the taking.

For wealthy, titled offspring, the landmarks were grander.  Young gentlemen would leave behind the family schoolroom for public school, and a grand tour of the Continent afterwards, to be followed, perhaps, by a maiden speech in the House or overseeing an estate, or a younger son’s honorable career as an officer or clergyman.  For young ladies, a Season in London wouldFig_11_2 be crowned with a match, and a marriage, and the serious career of being a wife, mother, and mistress of the household.

But on the whole, people haven’t changed much.  Whether 1808 or 2008, rich or poor or in between, the goal for parents remains generally the same: to see their child become a contributing, useful member of society, to find both security and happiness. It’s only the paths and the stops that mark the way that have changed with time, and with each individual, too. 

So what was a favorite “rite of passage” for you –– an event or moment that you were sure changed your life?  Was it something that seems charmingly insubstantial now (getting your ears pierced, or taking the subway without an adult), or one of life's perennial biggies, like marriage or the birth of your first child?  What was it that signified that you were at last on your way to being a “grown-up”? 

100 thoughts on “Rites of Passage, or Stops on the Schoolbus of Life”

  1. I had to walk to school (uphill both ways, LOL, with a cello). Oddly enough, I never felt I was grown-up until I bought my first washer/dryer set—and I was already married and pregnant. The double whammy occurred when we traded in the convertible for a station wagon before my son was born.
    Before that, I suppose Freshman Orientation Week at college (I was 15) made me realize my carefree youth had passed. Ha. I showed my maturity by chain-smoking. I was an idiot.

    Reply
  2. I had to walk to school (uphill both ways, LOL, with a cello). Oddly enough, I never felt I was grown-up until I bought my first washer/dryer set—and I was already married and pregnant. The double whammy occurred when we traded in the convertible for a station wagon before my son was born.
    Before that, I suppose Freshman Orientation Week at college (I was 15) made me realize my carefree youth had passed. Ha. I showed my maturity by chain-smoking. I was an idiot.

    Reply
  3. I had to walk to school (uphill both ways, LOL, with a cello). Oddly enough, I never felt I was grown-up until I bought my first washer/dryer set—and I was already married and pregnant. The double whammy occurred when we traded in the convertible for a station wagon before my son was born.
    Before that, I suppose Freshman Orientation Week at college (I was 15) made me realize my carefree youth had passed. Ha. I showed my maturity by chain-smoking. I was an idiot.

    Reply
  4. I had to walk to school (uphill both ways, LOL, with a cello). Oddly enough, I never felt I was grown-up until I bought my first washer/dryer set—and I was already married and pregnant. The double whammy occurred when we traded in the convertible for a station wagon before my son was born.
    Before that, I suppose Freshman Orientation Week at college (I was 15) made me realize my carefree youth had passed. Ha. I showed my maturity by chain-smoking. I was an idiot.

    Reply
  5. I had to walk to school (uphill both ways, LOL, with a cello). Oddly enough, I never felt I was grown-up until I bought my first washer/dryer set—and I was already married and pregnant. The double whammy occurred when we traded in the convertible for a station wagon before my son was born.
    Before that, I suppose Freshman Orientation Week at college (I was 15) made me realize my carefree youth had passed. Ha. I showed my maturity by chain-smoking. I was an idiot.

    Reply
  6. I have to agree with Peggy. When I had my first apartment and didn’t go back home for the summer, but stayed. I’m not really sure how adult that made me, because I really became quite homesick. It took probably four years or so before the “can’t go home again” syndrome finally became a reality.

    Reply
  7. I have to agree with Peggy. When I had my first apartment and didn’t go back home for the summer, but stayed. I’m not really sure how adult that made me, because I really became quite homesick. It took probably four years or so before the “can’t go home again” syndrome finally became a reality.

    Reply
  8. I have to agree with Peggy. When I had my first apartment and didn’t go back home for the summer, but stayed. I’m not really sure how adult that made me, because I really became quite homesick. It took probably four years or so before the “can’t go home again” syndrome finally became a reality.

    Reply
  9. I have to agree with Peggy. When I had my first apartment and didn’t go back home for the summer, but stayed. I’m not really sure how adult that made me, because I really became quite homesick. It took probably four years or so before the “can’t go home again” syndrome finally became a reality.

    Reply
  10. I have to agree with Peggy. When I had my first apartment and didn’t go back home for the summer, but stayed. I’m not really sure how adult that made me, because I really became quite homesick. It took probably four years or so before the “can’t go home again” syndrome finally became a reality.

    Reply
  11. Awww, Tal! :hug:
    I don’t remember any one experience, but then, I think home circumstances sometimes dictate that. When you grow up with a less than…happy? home life, I think often you miss those rights of passage because you’re caught up in too many other things.
    I don’t mean to sound depressing. I had a pretty happy childhood until I was around 10 or so and realized my father was an alcoholic who must have increased his consumption ten fold at that time. I grew up in a hurry then, but I can’t call it a right of passage by any means.
    Oh, I had the prom, the tests, the apartment, the first car, the first job (which was for $1 an hour by the way!) but none stood out for me because of the atmosphere at home.
    Eh, my girls had theirs and that’s what counts for me 😀

    Reply
  12. Awww, Tal! :hug:
    I don’t remember any one experience, but then, I think home circumstances sometimes dictate that. When you grow up with a less than…happy? home life, I think often you miss those rights of passage because you’re caught up in too many other things.
    I don’t mean to sound depressing. I had a pretty happy childhood until I was around 10 or so and realized my father was an alcoholic who must have increased his consumption ten fold at that time. I grew up in a hurry then, but I can’t call it a right of passage by any means.
    Oh, I had the prom, the tests, the apartment, the first car, the first job (which was for $1 an hour by the way!) but none stood out for me because of the atmosphere at home.
    Eh, my girls had theirs and that’s what counts for me 😀

    Reply
  13. Awww, Tal! :hug:
    I don’t remember any one experience, but then, I think home circumstances sometimes dictate that. When you grow up with a less than…happy? home life, I think often you miss those rights of passage because you’re caught up in too many other things.
    I don’t mean to sound depressing. I had a pretty happy childhood until I was around 10 or so and realized my father was an alcoholic who must have increased his consumption ten fold at that time. I grew up in a hurry then, but I can’t call it a right of passage by any means.
    Oh, I had the prom, the tests, the apartment, the first car, the first job (which was for $1 an hour by the way!) but none stood out for me because of the atmosphere at home.
    Eh, my girls had theirs and that’s what counts for me 😀

    Reply
  14. Awww, Tal! :hug:
    I don’t remember any one experience, but then, I think home circumstances sometimes dictate that. When you grow up with a less than…happy? home life, I think often you miss those rights of passage because you’re caught up in too many other things.
    I don’t mean to sound depressing. I had a pretty happy childhood until I was around 10 or so and realized my father was an alcoholic who must have increased his consumption ten fold at that time. I grew up in a hurry then, but I can’t call it a right of passage by any means.
    Oh, I had the prom, the tests, the apartment, the first car, the first job (which was for $1 an hour by the way!) but none stood out for me because of the atmosphere at home.
    Eh, my girls had theirs and that’s what counts for me 😀

    Reply
  15. Awww, Tal! :hug:
    I don’t remember any one experience, but then, I think home circumstances sometimes dictate that. When you grow up with a less than…happy? home life, I think often you miss those rights of passage because you’re caught up in too many other things.
    I don’t mean to sound depressing. I had a pretty happy childhood until I was around 10 or so and realized my father was an alcoholic who must have increased his consumption ten fold at that time. I grew up in a hurry then, but I can’t call it a right of passage by any means.
    Oh, I had the prom, the tests, the apartment, the first car, the first job (which was for $1 an hour by the way!) but none stood out for me because of the atmosphere at home.
    Eh, my girls had theirs and that’s what counts for me 😀

    Reply
  16. For most teens in Texas, the getting the driver’s license is a big rite of passage. Depending on whether your parents could afford another vehicle, you might have an old clunker to get to school and home or you might have a shiny newer car.
    In our family, if you had a license and wanted to drive, you had to have a job to pay for 1/2 the insurance, all the gasoline and repairs and all speeding tickets. If you didn’t have a car you could occasionally borrow one of the parent’s cars for errands.
    Our children really wanted the freedom of a car but found very early that the responsibility and expense were burdensome. Since they were buying all the gas they weren’t as inclined to cruise around without a specific purpose (and this was in the days before $4/gal). Further, we didn’t feel that giving a child a new car was smart. They were bound to have at least one wreck in the first few months of driving and the insurance would be much higher for a new car than an older one. Driving was always a priviledge dependent upon keeping passing grades and being reliable about letting us know were they were, who was with them and when they planned to return.
    Other than driving, a big rite of passage was finishing college and getting my first real job as a nurse. No more summers off or Christmas break. Hospital nurses are usually given only 2 weeks a year vacation and someone has to take care of the sick people on nights, weekends and holidays.

    Reply
  17. For most teens in Texas, the getting the driver’s license is a big rite of passage. Depending on whether your parents could afford another vehicle, you might have an old clunker to get to school and home or you might have a shiny newer car.
    In our family, if you had a license and wanted to drive, you had to have a job to pay for 1/2 the insurance, all the gasoline and repairs and all speeding tickets. If you didn’t have a car you could occasionally borrow one of the parent’s cars for errands.
    Our children really wanted the freedom of a car but found very early that the responsibility and expense were burdensome. Since they were buying all the gas they weren’t as inclined to cruise around without a specific purpose (and this was in the days before $4/gal). Further, we didn’t feel that giving a child a new car was smart. They were bound to have at least one wreck in the first few months of driving and the insurance would be much higher for a new car than an older one. Driving was always a priviledge dependent upon keeping passing grades and being reliable about letting us know were they were, who was with them and when they planned to return.
    Other than driving, a big rite of passage was finishing college and getting my first real job as a nurse. No more summers off or Christmas break. Hospital nurses are usually given only 2 weeks a year vacation and someone has to take care of the sick people on nights, weekends and holidays.

    Reply
  18. For most teens in Texas, the getting the driver’s license is a big rite of passage. Depending on whether your parents could afford another vehicle, you might have an old clunker to get to school and home or you might have a shiny newer car.
    In our family, if you had a license and wanted to drive, you had to have a job to pay for 1/2 the insurance, all the gasoline and repairs and all speeding tickets. If you didn’t have a car you could occasionally borrow one of the parent’s cars for errands.
    Our children really wanted the freedom of a car but found very early that the responsibility and expense were burdensome. Since they were buying all the gas they weren’t as inclined to cruise around without a specific purpose (and this was in the days before $4/gal). Further, we didn’t feel that giving a child a new car was smart. They were bound to have at least one wreck in the first few months of driving and the insurance would be much higher for a new car than an older one. Driving was always a priviledge dependent upon keeping passing grades and being reliable about letting us know were they were, who was with them and when they planned to return.
    Other than driving, a big rite of passage was finishing college and getting my first real job as a nurse. No more summers off or Christmas break. Hospital nurses are usually given only 2 weeks a year vacation and someone has to take care of the sick people on nights, weekends and holidays.

    Reply
  19. For most teens in Texas, the getting the driver’s license is a big rite of passage. Depending on whether your parents could afford another vehicle, you might have an old clunker to get to school and home or you might have a shiny newer car.
    In our family, if you had a license and wanted to drive, you had to have a job to pay for 1/2 the insurance, all the gasoline and repairs and all speeding tickets. If you didn’t have a car you could occasionally borrow one of the parent’s cars for errands.
    Our children really wanted the freedom of a car but found very early that the responsibility and expense were burdensome. Since they were buying all the gas they weren’t as inclined to cruise around without a specific purpose (and this was in the days before $4/gal). Further, we didn’t feel that giving a child a new car was smart. They were bound to have at least one wreck in the first few months of driving and the insurance would be much higher for a new car than an older one. Driving was always a priviledge dependent upon keeping passing grades and being reliable about letting us know were they were, who was with them and when they planned to return.
    Other than driving, a big rite of passage was finishing college and getting my first real job as a nurse. No more summers off or Christmas break. Hospital nurses are usually given only 2 weeks a year vacation and someone has to take care of the sick people on nights, weekends and holidays.

    Reply
  20. For most teens in Texas, the getting the driver’s license is a big rite of passage. Depending on whether your parents could afford another vehicle, you might have an old clunker to get to school and home or you might have a shiny newer car.
    In our family, if you had a license and wanted to drive, you had to have a job to pay for 1/2 the insurance, all the gasoline and repairs and all speeding tickets. If you didn’t have a car you could occasionally borrow one of the parent’s cars for errands.
    Our children really wanted the freedom of a car but found very early that the responsibility and expense were burdensome. Since they were buying all the gas they weren’t as inclined to cruise around without a specific purpose (and this was in the days before $4/gal). Further, we didn’t feel that giving a child a new car was smart. They were bound to have at least one wreck in the first few months of driving and the insurance would be much higher for a new car than an older one. Driving was always a priviledge dependent upon keeping passing grades and being reliable about letting us know were they were, who was with them and when they planned to return.
    Other than driving, a big rite of passage was finishing college and getting my first real job as a nurse. No more summers off or Christmas break. Hospital nurses are usually given only 2 weeks a year vacation and someone has to take care of the sick people on nights, weekends and holidays.

    Reply
  21. I’m sort of with Theo, except for the early happy years. I’m sort of seeing what the whole kid thing is like through my own. How downer we sound! But it makes me (us?) really treasure being able to provide that bubble of time for other children. I point their milestones out to them so they don’t miss them in the rush from one age to the next.
    “Today is the last time you’ll brush your teeth as a six year old. you will never again be a six year old brushing your teeth. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you’ll be waking up as a seven year old for the first time ever.”
    “Mom. You are very weird. Very.”
    (Monthly reminder – click my name to see me bald! Time’s running out!)

    Reply
  22. I’m sort of with Theo, except for the early happy years. I’m sort of seeing what the whole kid thing is like through my own. How downer we sound! But it makes me (us?) really treasure being able to provide that bubble of time for other children. I point their milestones out to them so they don’t miss them in the rush from one age to the next.
    “Today is the last time you’ll brush your teeth as a six year old. you will never again be a six year old brushing your teeth. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you’ll be waking up as a seven year old for the first time ever.”
    “Mom. You are very weird. Very.”
    (Monthly reminder – click my name to see me bald! Time’s running out!)

    Reply
  23. I’m sort of with Theo, except for the early happy years. I’m sort of seeing what the whole kid thing is like through my own. How downer we sound! But it makes me (us?) really treasure being able to provide that bubble of time for other children. I point their milestones out to them so they don’t miss them in the rush from one age to the next.
    “Today is the last time you’ll brush your teeth as a six year old. you will never again be a six year old brushing your teeth. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you’ll be waking up as a seven year old for the first time ever.”
    “Mom. You are very weird. Very.”
    (Monthly reminder – click my name to see me bald! Time’s running out!)

    Reply
  24. I’m sort of with Theo, except for the early happy years. I’m sort of seeing what the whole kid thing is like through my own. How downer we sound! But it makes me (us?) really treasure being able to provide that bubble of time for other children. I point their milestones out to them so they don’t miss them in the rush from one age to the next.
    “Today is the last time you’ll brush your teeth as a six year old. you will never again be a six year old brushing your teeth. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you’ll be waking up as a seven year old for the first time ever.”
    “Mom. You are very weird. Very.”
    (Monthly reminder – click my name to see me bald! Time’s running out!)

    Reply
  25. I’m sort of with Theo, except for the early happy years. I’m sort of seeing what the whole kid thing is like through my own. How downer we sound! But it makes me (us?) really treasure being able to provide that bubble of time for other children. I point their milestones out to them so they don’t miss them in the rush from one age to the next.
    “Today is the last time you’ll brush your teeth as a six year old. you will never again be a six year old brushing your teeth. Tomorrow, when you wake up, you’ll be waking up as a seven year old for the first time ever.”
    “Mom. You are very weird. Very.”
    (Monthly reminder – click my name to see me bald! Time’s running out!)

    Reply
  26. My most memorable rite of passage was leaving for college. I went to school 5 hours from home, and I remember pulling out of the driveway in the backseat of my dad’s car vividly. I was crying, quietly so my parents wouldn’t know. I was looking forward to college, but I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same again. I think that’s when I truly left childhood behind.
    My favorite rites of passage? Getting a cat that truly belonged to just me (a fuzzy orange tiger named Orion) when I was deemed old enough and getting the first paycheck from my first “real” engineering job.

    Reply
  27. My most memorable rite of passage was leaving for college. I went to school 5 hours from home, and I remember pulling out of the driveway in the backseat of my dad’s car vividly. I was crying, quietly so my parents wouldn’t know. I was looking forward to college, but I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same again. I think that’s when I truly left childhood behind.
    My favorite rites of passage? Getting a cat that truly belonged to just me (a fuzzy orange tiger named Orion) when I was deemed old enough and getting the first paycheck from my first “real” engineering job.

    Reply
  28. My most memorable rite of passage was leaving for college. I went to school 5 hours from home, and I remember pulling out of the driveway in the backseat of my dad’s car vividly. I was crying, quietly so my parents wouldn’t know. I was looking forward to college, but I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same again. I think that’s when I truly left childhood behind.
    My favorite rites of passage? Getting a cat that truly belonged to just me (a fuzzy orange tiger named Orion) when I was deemed old enough and getting the first paycheck from my first “real” engineering job.

    Reply
  29. My most memorable rite of passage was leaving for college. I went to school 5 hours from home, and I remember pulling out of the driveway in the backseat of my dad’s car vividly. I was crying, quietly so my parents wouldn’t know. I was looking forward to college, but I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same again. I think that’s when I truly left childhood behind.
    My favorite rites of passage? Getting a cat that truly belonged to just me (a fuzzy orange tiger named Orion) when I was deemed old enough and getting the first paycheck from my first “real” engineering job.

    Reply
  30. My most memorable rite of passage was leaving for college. I went to school 5 hours from home, and I remember pulling out of the driveway in the backseat of my dad’s car vividly. I was crying, quietly so my parents wouldn’t know. I was looking forward to college, but I knew things wouldn’t ever be the same again. I think that’s when I truly left childhood behind.
    My favorite rites of passage? Getting a cat that truly belonged to just me (a fuzzy orange tiger named Orion) when I was deemed old enough and getting the first paycheck from my first “real” engineering job.

    Reply
  31. liz! I didn’t walk this year, but contributed. We do every year. We’ve been touched many times by this disease.
    And yes, I did the same thing to my girls. “Today is the last day you’ll be a ‘child’. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be a teenager!”
    Unfortunately, my youngest one started telling me she was an adult at 17 (must have missed that milestone with her) and this next month, at 19, is moving in with her control freak boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s quit college completely (we quit paying when she started lying) and I have a feeling within the year, she’s going to tell us she’s pregnant. Won’t that be a milestone?
    *sigh*
    We honestly did the best we could. The older one is a 180 from this one…
    But I digress…
    I kept a memento of some kind for each of those milestones too. Maybe some day, they’ll look back and remember, and appreciate those times. It only gets harder from here!

    Reply
  32. liz! I didn’t walk this year, but contributed. We do every year. We’ve been touched many times by this disease.
    And yes, I did the same thing to my girls. “Today is the last day you’ll be a ‘child’. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be a teenager!”
    Unfortunately, my youngest one started telling me she was an adult at 17 (must have missed that milestone with her) and this next month, at 19, is moving in with her control freak boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s quit college completely (we quit paying when she started lying) and I have a feeling within the year, she’s going to tell us she’s pregnant. Won’t that be a milestone?
    *sigh*
    We honestly did the best we could. The older one is a 180 from this one…
    But I digress…
    I kept a memento of some kind for each of those milestones too. Maybe some day, they’ll look back and remember, and appreciate those times. It only gets harder from here!

    Reply
  33. liz! I didn’t walk this year, but contributed. We do every year. We’ve been touched many times by this disease.
    And yes, I did the same thing to my girls. “Today is the last day you’ll be a ‘child’. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be a teenager!”
    Unfortunately, my youngest one started telling me she was an adult at 17 (must have missed that milestone with her) and this next month, at 19, is moving in with her control freak boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s quit college completely (we quit paying when she started lying) and I have a feeling within the year, she’s going to tell us she’s pregnant. Won’t that be a milestone?
    *sigh*
    We honestly did the best we could. The older one is a 180 from this one…
    But I digress…
    I kept a memento of some kind for each of those milestones too. Maybe some day, they’ll look back and remember, and appreciate those times. It only gets harder from here!

    Reply
  34. liz! I didn’t walk this year, but contributed. We do every year. We’ve been touched many times by this disease.
    And yes, I did the same thing to my girls. “Today is the last day you’ll be a ‘child’. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be a teenager!”
    Unfortunately, my youngest one started telling me she was an adult at 17 (must have missed that milestone with her) and this next month, at 19, is moving in with her control freak boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s quit college completely (we quit paying when she started lying) and I have a feeling within the year, she’s going to tell us she’s pregnant. Won’t that be a milestone?
    *sigh*
    We honestly did the best we could. The older one is a 180 from this one…
    But I digress…
    I kept a memento of some kind for each of those milestones too. Maybe some day, they’ll look back and remember, and appreciate those times. It only gets harder from here!

    Reply
  35. liz! I didn’t walk this year, but contributed. We do every year. We’ve been touched many times by this disease.
    And yes, I did the same thing to my girls. “Today is the last day you’ll be a ‘child’. When you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be a teenager!”
    Unfortunately, my youngest one started telling me she was an adult at 17 (must have missed that milestone with her) and this next month, at 19, is moving in with her control freak boyfriend. I’m pretty sure she’s quit college completely (we quit paying when she started lying) and I have a feeling within the year, she’s going to tell us she’s pregnant. Won’t that be a milestone?
    *sigh*
    We honestly did the best we could. The older one is a 180 from this one…
    But I digress…
    I kept a memento of some kind for each of those milestones too. Maybe some day, they’ll look back and remember, and appreciate those times. It only gets harder from here!

    Reply
  36. For me, going away to college was a big rite of passage for me. My parents were strict so going away from home was quite exciting and scary.

    Reply
  37. For me, going away to college was a big rite of passage for me. My parents were strict so going away from home was quite exciting and scary.

    Reply
  38. For me, going away to college was a big rite of passage for me. My parents were strict so going away from home was quite exciting and scary.

    Reply
  39. For me, going away to college was a big rite of passage for me. My parents were strict so going away from home was quite exciting and scary.

    Reply
  40. For me, going away to college was a big rite of passage for me. My parents were strict so going away from home was quite exciting and scary.

    Reply
  41. Finally finishing college was a big one. So was the first apartment that was all mine–no room mate(s). And getting paid to write. These events happened close together, and it was a terrific time in my young adult life.

    Reply
  42. Finally finishing college was a big one. So was the first apartment that was all mine–no room mate(s). And getting paid to write. These events happened close together, and it was a terrific time in my young adult life.

    Reply
  43. Finally finishing college was a big one. So was the first apartment that was all mine–no room mate(s). And getting paid to write. These events happened close together, and it was a terrific time in my young adult life.

    Reply
  44. Finally finishing college was a big one. So was the first apartment that was all mine–no room mate(s). And getting paid to write. These events happened close together, and it was a terrific time in my young adult life.

    Reply
  45. Finally finishing college was a big one. So was the first apartment that was all mine–no room mate(s). And getting paid to write. These events happened close together, and it was a terrific time in my young adult life.

    Reply
  46. Interesting how often it seems to be the mom who’s keeping track of the landmark events, not the child who’s experiencing them.
    Which, of course, is par for the course. Most of us, old or young, probably don’t realize the significance of something until after it’s done, and children, given their fluid sense of time, are the worst (or best) of the lot.
    For modern Americans, college is the biggie. Not only does it involve leaving home and experiencing that first sense of freedom and independence from parents, but it stands for intellectual independence, too — the first opportunity to think and study (or not, alas) on our own.

    Reply
  47. Interesting how often it seems to be the mom who’s keeping track of the landmark events, not the child who’s experiencing them.
    Which, of course, is par for the course. Most of us, old or young, probably don’t realize the significance of something until after it’s done, and children, given their fluid sense of time, are the worst (or best) of the lot.
    For modern Americans, college is the biggie. Not only does it involve leaving home and experiencing that first sense of freedom and independence from parents, but it stands for intellectual independence, too — the first opportunity to think and study (or not, alas) on our own.

    Reply
  48. Interesting how often it seems to be the mom who’s keeping track of the landmark events, not the child who’s experiencing them.
    Which, of course, is par for the course. Most of us, old or young, probably don’t realize the significance of something until after it’s done, and children, given their fluid sense of time, are the worst (or best) of the lot.
    For modern Americans, college is the biggie. Not only does it involve leaving home and experiencing that first sense of freedom and independence from parents, but it stands for intellectual independence, too — the first opportunity to think and study (or not, alas) on our own.

    Reply
  49. Interesting how often it seems to be the mom who’s keeping track of the landmark events, not the child who’s experiencing them.
    Which, of course, is par for the course. Most of us, old or young, probably don’t realize the significance of something until after it’s done, and children, given their fluid sense of time, are the worst (or best) of the lot.
    For modern Americans, college is the biggie. Not only does it involve leaving home and experiencing that first sense of freedom and independence from parents, but it stands for intellectual independence, too — the first opportunity to think and study (or not, alas) on our own.

    Reply
  50. Interesting how often it seems to be the mom who’s keeping track of the landmark events, not the child who’s experiencing them.
    Which, of course, is par for the course. Most of us, old or young, probably don’t realize the significance of something until after it’s done, and children, given their fluid sense of time, are the worst (or best) of the lot.
    For modern Americans, college is the biggie. Not only does it involve leaving home and experiencing that first sense of freedom and independence from parents, but it stands for intellectual independence, too — the first opportunity to think and study (or not, alas) on our own.

    Reply
  51. My rite of passage was at 16, when it was necessary to get a job to put food on the table. Shifted to a “Diversified Occupations” class in school…school half day…work half day. Went to work at a chain of movie theatres…worked as doorman and ran projectors on the side. I did graduate.

    Reply
  52. My rite of passage was at 16, when it was necessary to get a job to put food on the table. Shifted to a “Diversified Occupations” class in school…school half day…work half day. Went to work at a chain of movie theatres…worked as doorman and ran projectors on the side. I did graduate.

    Reply
  53. My rite of passage was at 16, when it was necessary to get a job to put food on the table. Shifted to a “Diversified Occupations” class in school…school half day…work half day. Went to work at a chain of movie theatres…worked as doorman and ran projectors on the side. I did graduate.

    Reply
  54. My rite of passage was at 16, when it was necessary to get a job to put food on the table. Shifted to a “Diversified Occupations” class in school…school half day…work half day. Went to work at a chain of movie theatres…worked as doorman and ran projectors on the side. I did graduate.

    Reply
  55. My rite of passage was at 16, when it was necessary to get a job to put food on the table. Shifted to a “Diversified Occupations” class in school…school half day…work half day. Went to work at a chain of movie theatres…worked as doorman and ran projectors on the side. I did graduate.

    Reply
  56. Having been raised as an Army officer’s daughter, my formal passage into adulthood came when lady callers left cards for me as well as my mother.
    There’s certainly not a lot of THAT going around any more!

    Reply
  57. Having been raised as an Army officer’s daughter, my formal passage into adulthood came when lady callers left cards for me as well as my mother.
    There’s certainly not a lot of THAT going around any more!

    Reply
  58. Having been raised as an Army officer’s daughter, my formal passage into adulthood came when lady callers left cards for me as well as my mother.
    There’s certainly not a lot of THAT going around any more!

    Reply
  59. Having been raised as an Army officer’s daughter, my formal passage into adulthood came when lady callers left cards for me as well as my mother.
    There’s certainly not a lot of THAT going around any more!

    Reply
  60. Having been raised as an Army officer’s daughter, my formal passage into adulthood came when lady callers left cards for me as well as my mother.
    There’s certainly not a lot of THAT going around any more!

    Reply
  61. Theo – at least you’re not trying to run for VP. Silver lining, right?
    I’m a big believer that some people insist on learning from the most needless mistakes they can. Everyone in the world warned my mother about my father and she still can’t quite believe it, 40+ years later.

    Reply
  62. Theo – at least you’re not trying to run for VP. Silver lining, right?
    I’m a big believer that some people insist on learning from the most needless mistakes they can. Everyone in the world warned my mother about my father and she still can’t quite believe it, 40+ years later.

    Reply
  63. Theo – at least you’re not trying to run for VP. Silver lining, right?
    I’m a big believer that some people insist on learning from the most needless mistakes they can. Everyone in the world warned my mother about my father and she still can’t quite believe it, 40+ years later.

    Reply
  64. Theo – at least you’re not trying to run for VP. Silver lining, right?
    I’m a big believer that some people insist on learning from the most needless mistakes they can. Everyone in the world warned my mother about my father and she still can’t quite believe it, 40+ years later.

    Reply
  65. Theo – at least you’re not trying to run for VP. Silver lining, right?
    I’m a big believer that some people insist on learning from the most needless mistakes they can. Everyone in the world warned my mother about my father and she still can’t quite believe it, 40+ years later.

    Reply
  66. CAR, Tal! 😛
    We had horses, I did a rodeo show for awhile…long story, really a long story…
    Nope, thanks, Liz, wouldn’t take that job if it came with a guarantee that I would do it perfectly and would be loved by all. I might do my share of complaining about who is or isn’t holding office or running, but I’m certain not savvy enough to do it myself.
    I vote because of course, I want the best man for the job to win (though in this case, I don’t think there is one!) and because if I *don’t* vote, I have no right to complain about what’s going on! 😉

    Reply
  67. CAR, Tal! 😛
    We had horses, I did a rodeo show for awhile…long story, really a long story…
    Nope, thanks, Liz, wouldn’t take that job if it came with a guarantee that I would do it perfectly and would be loved by all. I might do my share of complaining about who is or isn’t holding office or running, but I’m certain not savvy enough to do it myself.
    I vote because of course, I want the best man for the job to win (though in this case, I don’t think there is one!) and because if I *don’t* vote, I have no right to complain about what’s going on! 😉

    Reply
  68. CAR, Tal! 😛
    We had horses, I did a rodeo show for awhile…long story, really a long story…
    Nope, thanks, Liz, wouldn’t take that job if it came with a guarantee that I would do it perfectly and would be loved by all. I might do my share of complaining about who is or isn’t holding office or running, but I’m certain not savvy enough to do it myself.
    I vote because of course, I want the best man for the job to win (though in this case, I don’t think there is one!) and because if I *don’t* vote, I have no right to complain about what’s going on! 😉

    Reply
  69. CAR, Tal! 😛
    We had horses, I did a rodeo show for awhile…long story, really a long story…
    Nope, thanks, Liz, wouldn’t take that job if it came with a guarantee that I would do it perfectly and would be loved by all. I might do my share of complaining about who is or isn’t holding office or running, but I’m certain not savvy enough to do it myself.
    I vote because of course, I want the best man for the job to win (though in this case, I don’t think there is one!) and because if I *don’t* vote, I have no right to complain about what’s going on! 😉

    Reply
  70. CAR, Tal! 😛
    We had horses, I did a rodeo show for awhile…long story, really a long story…
    Nope, thanks, Liz, wouldn’t take that job if it came with a guarantee that I would do it perfectly and would be loved by all. I might do my share of complaining about who is or isn’t holding office or running, but I’m certain not savvy enough to do it myself.
    I vote because of course, I want the best man for the job to win (though in this case, I don’t think there is one!) and because if I *don’t* vote, I have no right to complain about what’s going on! 😉

    Reply
  71. NOt the first job, but the first PAYCHECK! Money of my own to spend without anyone’s permission. Out of my two week paycheck (99.00 after taxes) I saved 25.00 and spent the rest on new clothes. Wish I could sve a fourth of my paycheck now!

    Reply
  72. NOt the first job, but the first PAYCHECK! Money of my own to spend without anyone’s permission. Out of my two week paycheck (99.00 after taxes) I saved 25.00 and spent the rest on new clothes. Wish I could sve a fourth of my paycheck now!

    Reply
  73. NOt the first job, but the first PAYCHECK! Money of my own to spend without anyone’s permission. Out of my two week paycheck (99.00 after taxes) I saved 25.00 and spent the rest on new clothes. Wish I could sve a fourth of my paycheck now!

    Reply
  74. NOt the first job, but the first PAYCHECK! Money of my own to spend without anyone’s permission. Out of my two week paycheck (99.00 after taxes) I saved 25.00 and spent the rest on new clothes. Wish I could sve a fourth of my paycheck now!

    Reply
  75. NOt the first job, but the first PAYCHECK! Money of my own to spend without anyone’s permission. Out of my two week paycheck (99.00 after taxes) I saved 25.00 and spent the rest on new clothes. Wish I could sve a fourth of my paycheck now!

    Reply
  76. When I got my driver’s license. That meant I could buy my own car. That meant I could do what my brothers had all done – vanish after dinner, not returning until late late at night. My mother had forbidden my having a car before then; she didn’t need one, why should I? If I were a proper sort of girl, guys would be happy to drive me anywhere. I was aware that there was an inevitable price to chauffeur service but I couldn’t explain that to her; she was from an era when that wasn’t even on the table. So I waited until I finished college and earned the money to buy some driving lessons (my brothers were always “too busy”) and then my first car. Freedom! Rock and roll on the radio instead of sports and news! I spent a lot of time just driving around and looking at things. I still do.
    In all those days when I still lived with her, and came home after midnight, my mother never once asked me where I had been or who I was with or what I had done. I don’t think it was because she respected my new adulthood, or because she knew I was really a very shy young woman, not the sort to go clubbing or fall in with (or even attract) bad company. I think it just didn’t cross her mind because “people just didn’t do that then”.

    Reply
  77. When I got my driver’s license. That meant I could buy my own car. That meant I could do what my brothers had all done – vanish after dinner, not returning until late late at night. My mother had forbidden my having a car before then; she didn’t need one, why should I? If I were a proper sort of girl, guys would be happy to drive me anywhere. I was aware that there was an inevitable price to chauffeur service but I couldn’t explain that to her; she was from an era when that wasn’t even on the table. So I waited until I finished college and earned the money to buy some driving lessons (my brothers were always “too busy”) and then my first car. Freedom! Rock and roll on the radio instead of sports and news! I spent a lot of time just driving around and looking at things. I still do.
    In all those days when I still lived with her, and came home after midnight, my mother never once asked me where I had been or who I was with or what I had done. I don’t think it was because she respected my new adulthood, or because she knew I was really a very shy young woman, not the sort to go clubbing or fall in with (or even attract) bad company. I think it just didn’t cross her mind because “people just didn’t do that then”.

    Reply
  78. When I got my driver’s license. That meant I could buy my own car. That meant I could do what my brothers had all done – vanish after dinner, not returning until late late at night. My mother had forbidden my having a car before then; she didn’t need one, why should I? If I were a proper sort of girl, guys would be happy to drive me anywhere. I was aware that there was an inevitable price to chauffeur service but I couldn’t explain that to her; she was from an era when that wasn’t even on the table. So I waited until I finished college and earned the money to buy some driving lessons (my brothers were always “too busy”) and then my first car. Freedom! Rock and roll on the radio instead of sports and news! I spent a lot of time just driving around and looking at things. I still do.
    In all those days when I still lived with her, and came home after midnight, my mother never once asked me where I had been or who I was with or what I had done. I don’t think it was because she respected my new adulthood, or because she knew I was really a very shy young woman, not the sort to go clubbing or fall in with (or even attract) bad company. I think it just didn’t cross her mind because “people just didn’t do that then”.

    Reply
  79. When I got my driver’s license. That meant I could buy my own car. That meant I could do what my brothers had all done – vanish after dinner, not returning until late late at night. My mother had forbidden my having a car before then; she didn’t need one, why should I? If I were a proper sort of girl, guys would be happy to drive me anywhere. I was aware that there was an inevitable price to chauffeur service but I couldn’t explain that to her; she was from an era when that wasn’t even on the table. So I waited until I finished college and earned the money to buy some driving lessons (my brothers were always “too busy”) and then my first car. Freedom! Rock and roll on the radio instead of sports and news! I spent a lot of time just driving around and looking at things. I still do.
    In all those days when I still lived with her, and came home after midnight, my mother never once asked me where I had been or who I was with or what I had done. I don’t think it was because she respected my new adulthood, or because she knew I was really a very shy young woman, not the sort to go clubbing or fall in with (or even attract) bad company. I think it just didn’t cross her mind because “people just didn’t do that then”.

    Reply
  80. When I got my driver’s license. That meant I could buy my own car. That meant I could do what my brothers had all done – vanish after dinner, not returning until late late at night. My mother had forbidden my having a car before then; she didn’t need one, why should I? If I were a proper sort of girl, guys would be happy to drive me anywhere. I was aware that there was an inevitable price to chauffeur service but I couldn’t explain that to her; she was from an era when that wasn’t even on the table. So I waited until I finished college and earned the money to buy some driving lessons (my brothers were always “too busy”) and then my first car. Freedom! Rock and roll on the radio instead of sports and news! I spent a lot of time just driving around and looking at things. I still do.
    In all those days when I still lived with her, and came home after midnight, my mother never once asked me where I had been or who I was with or what I had done. I don’t think it was because she respected my new adulthood, or because she knew I was really a very shy young woman, not the sort to go clubbing or fall in with (or even attract) bad company. I think it just didn’t cross her mind because “people just didn’t do that then”.

    Reply

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