There was weird numerical symmetry in the air when I was a teenager.
When I was sixteen, “Jack and Diane” was released, with its lyric “Hold on to sixteen, as long as you can…”
Then I turned nineteen – one year beyond the veil of adulthood. And Paul Hardcastle released “19.”
My oldest daughter turns sixteen today, and this is what I most want to say to her: don’t rush through these next few years. Sixteen is the age when childhood and child start pulling apart in earnest, when you look up the road a piece and see Adulthood sending alluring, come-hither glances. You don’t want anyone to think you’re a kid anymore, and you’re mostly not. As a parent, it’s delightful, as in, full of moments overflowing with delight, to see the clearer contours emerge of the woman you’ll be. Your dry sense of humor, your quick intelligence, your analytical mind are all things that I know I will treasure and rely on when we are both in the “grownup” category.
But I can wait a little longer for that. And I hope you’ll realize Adulthood isn’t all driver’s licenses and no curfews. That what looks like an enticing look from Adulthood may be, in fact, Adulthood trying to unstick a wedgie or do a mental calculation of how much property tax is due. Don’t be too quick to lose your goofiness, your focused and passionate attempts to win a spot in the Guiness Book for daytime pajama wearing, your ability to relate so well to the little kids you babysit.
It’s fine to be an Adult, once you get used to it. But you’re going to be an Adult, God willing, for a long, long time. Don’t dance away from being sixteen, or seventeen, or eighteen too fast.
No matter how good the music is.