Today my second daughter turns twenty. Happy Birthday Madison! I love 20, although it does seem to age me. When people ask me the ages of my children, I tell them 21, 20, 17 and 14. The response typically involves some sort of eyebrow raise or opening the eyes very wide -- which I take to mean, "Wow, your kids are old. Thus, you are old."
Or, maybe I'm reading too much into the eyes.
There are many cool things about having a 20 year old. Madison, for example, is a great conversationalist. She's an engaging dinner companion, who regales me with stories of her college adventures and mishaps. And afterwards she'll play 27 games of ping pong. She'll even be gracious when her old momma beats her.
Sometimes Madison takes me along on her adventures -- like last summer when I went with her to New York, and we squished into her tiny (miniscule) dorm room for four days while we got her ready for her internship. We worked very hard procuring an air conditioner and sampling all of the restaurants within walking distance -- a parenting job I can really get behind.
I was lucky enough to spend the past two weekends with Maddie in Utah. She's my own private ski-guide. She races ahead, leaving my mind free to just follow her and enjoy the scenery. But she also pushes me to go faster and on more difficult runs. I find myself flying to keep up.
The funny thing about kids is that they come pretty much already assembled. Maddie was a sensitive, compassionate little kid, and she's exactly the same at 20. She was a math whiz by kindergarten, and now she's rocking the linear-algebra-multi-variable-calculus sort of stuff. She's always been funny and a bit of a prankster. She's someone you can count on in a pinch. She's bright and enthusiastic and kind. So, yep, she's always been these things. She came that way.
The only thing I dislike about 20 is that college is so far away. I feel like I'm missing out on all of the brightness that she brings to the world. And that's the thing about 20 -- it's about possibility and trying things out -- it's about rushing out to meet the world on one's own. I'm just grateful for a front row seat.
Happy birthday sweet girl.