I don’t think I’m old enough to have a 21-year-old child.

Today my oldest daughter turns 21.  I’m not sure where the time went, but it was seriously just a week ago that I gave birth to her, and it was just a few short days ago that I was sobbing as I put her on the school bus on her first day of school.

As I hugged her this morning and wished her a happy birthday, I said to her that I’m not old enough to have a 21-year-old kid.  Because I raised such a great kid, she generously replied, “But Mom, the important thing is that you don’t look old enough to have a 21-year-old kid.”  Good answer.

Here’s the thing, though:  I honestly don’t feel old enough to have an adult child.  Since going vegan four years ago, I feel like I’m the one who is 21.  Ok, sometimes my body rebels as I try a new strengthening program, or decide at the last minute to add an extra mile on to that day’s run.  But for the most part, I feel pretty damn good.  I’m the same size now that I was in college, thanks to my healthy plant-based diet.  What’s different now, though, than my college days is that physically I’m in much better shape.  I’m stronger and fitter.  Every day is a challenge to add more on to my workouts. 

Our 21-year-old daughter is planning on moving out in July.  She has lived on her own before, but always ends up moving back home.  This time, though, I think things are different.  I can see how much she has matured and grown up over the last couple of years.  Plus, she’ll only be about a 20-minute drive away.  Our 18-year-old daughter is graduating from high school in May, but she plans on living at home while attending college for the first year or two, so my husband and I won’t have an empty nest quite yet.  However, time goes by so quickly, our youngest will be flying the coop soon, too.

“Then what will you do?” people often ask me.  Run more.  Hike more.  Take up biking.  The sky is the limit, I think. 

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