My birthday is one of those things that really freaks me out. It’s weird to all the sudden be something different. Yesterday I was sixteen, today I’m not. Today I’m seventeen. Today I’m older. Today I can watch R rated movies. I wonder why.
The first time I drove I started bawling crying. I pulled up to dance class crying in my car, called my mom, and cried some more. It didn’t feel right. I felt too independent. I missed needing my mom to drive me. I felt like a horrible person.
Last night my mom hugged me, and when she pulled back she noticed I was crying. Again. And I didn’t even know why. If I’m being honest, I’m crying right now writing this. I’m not upset about anything, I’m just afraid. And nostalgic. I’m afraid that tomorrow I’ll be eighteen. I’m afraid that the next day I’ll graduate. Then the next day I’ll leave home. I’ll be a plane ride away then.
I don’t know why I’m like this. Why I cry when I get older rather than celebrate. Maybe I am celebrating. In a different way… Maybe I’m celebrating the age that I’m letting go. I’m celebrating the last year of my life. I’m crying, but only because it’s so bittersweet. The way we grow is so bittersweet. And I’m so joyful for all the times I’ve had. I’m so happy thinking back to when I was fifteen and couldn’t go anywhere without my mom. I’m so joyful looking back at the great sixteenth year I just had with my friends and family. It really was great. And I’m so excited looking forward to this seventeenth year I’m beginning now. Because I know it will be great too. It’s bitter, yes. But boy, is it sweet.
It’s sweet to watch my family love me, no matter what stage I’m in. It’s sweet to watch my friends grow with me. We’re all in it together. It’s sweet to watch my sisters change. From college, to adulthood, to some unexpected adjustments that we would have never predicted (bitter, but again, I trust it will end sweetly). It’s sweet to watch my little cousins grow up. Remembering what it was like to be a kid, the hard things and the really fun things. It’s sweet to know I am loved every single moment of my life. And it’s sweet to know that I might be able to pass that love along in these coming years. It’s sweet to know that nothing will ever change or weaken the love that I receive vertically. That’s the sweetest of all.
It’s such a weird thing: age, growing older, growing up. It’s weird that today I am seventeen. And yesterday I wasn’t. But I’m still me. And I’m still loved. And I’m still growing. It’s bittersweet.
I’m still me though. At least that won’t change.