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Watching our children grow up

When do you know your child is grown? When do you know they’re an adult and able to make those adult decisions?

When do you as a parent know that it’s OK to treat them as you would a regular adult?

Questions that I am still trying to find answers to … questions that have boggled me since my daughter’s birth 21 years ago.

Yes, my “baby” turned 21 years of age this week and the flood of memories have been working overtime. Watching her learn to crawl, her first words and steps, starting school, the baton recitals and band competitions, learning to drive. All of the things she did and was involved in prior to graduating high school.

But now that she is of “legal age” I’ve also been pondering that age-old question of when does she really become an adult and not the child I have taken care of, raised and nurtured?

The more I think on it, the more I realize that she will never be an adult in my eyes. Of course she will make adult decisions, like the one she made in January when she exchanged wedding vows with a fine young man she had been dating for three years. She also has adult responsibilities and works a full-time job while also working toward obtaining a nursing degree.

But in my mind — and I suppose for the rest of my life — she will always be that 2-year-old girl holding my hand at the ballpark as Dad covers a high school baseball game. Which is fine with me. I recall at the time thinking to myself that I need to capture this moment and that someday I will be glad I did. So I snapped a photo of her during this particular time when there was a lull in the ballgame and today it remains my favorite photo of her.

Of course she and most everyone else besides me, see her as an adult.

My mother has often told me that my two brothers and I will always be her “little boys,” which I thought was ridiculous when I was younger. But now I know exactly what she meant.

Our children will grow up, begin a career, get married and hopefully have children of their own. But for as long as I live, in my mind, she will remain that little blonde-headed 2-year-old girls in her OshKosh B’gosh outfit playing peek-a-boo underneath a baseball cap.

Happy birthday, “baby girl” and welcome to adulthood.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.