Eighteen years. Eighteen! Eighteen years ago at this time you hadn’t put in your appearance yet. My labor had just begun. Your Dad woke me up just a few minutes past 6:00 a.m. to ask if I was alright since I had been moaning in my sleep. When I woke up and sat up, my water broke. You were on your way. You wouldn’t arrive until 9:02 a.m. when the Doctor used the vacuum cap to help pull you out. I guess you’d changed your mind after all and decided it wasn’t time to arrive. You were contrary from the start.
According to New York State, here are some of the things that you can now do:
What are some of the rights I have at 18 that I didn’t have before?
• You have the right to vote in national, state and local elections.
• You have the right to run for local and certain state political offices.
• You have the right to enter into a contract.
• You have the right to make a will.
• You have the right to obtain medical treatment without the consent of your parents.
• You have the right to apply for credit in your own name.
• You have the right to work in all types of jobs.
• You have the right to live independently from your parents and be free of their control.
• You have the right to marry without your parents’ permission.
What are some of the new responsibilities that I’ll have when I turn 18?
• Your parents are no longer required to support you.
• You are responsible for all your actions. If you violate the law, you will be tried and sentenced as an adult, not a juvenile.
• You may sue and be sued by others for contracts that you make.
• You may be called for jury duty.
• If you are male, you must register with the Selective Service System to be eligible in the event of a military draft. Failure to register can result in imprisonment, fines, and ineligibility for federal student loans and many government jobs.
We’ll have to take care of that last one. Although as a Type 1 Diabetic, you won’t have to serve in the armed forces if there was ever a draft.
Eighteen years old. I can still remember getting up with you in the middle of the night to give you your bottle. We sat in the living room while everyone else slept on, oblivious to the fact that we were up and about. I’d put VH1 on the television and listen to Hootie and the Blowfish sing, “I Only Wanna Be With You” while you ate. Some nights I’d fall asleep while you were drinking your bottle. I’d wake up to find you had finished and were asleep, too. You never complained about not being burped – you just enjoyed the food and the snuggling. You were safe and content.
Eighteen years. My, how time does fly. Happy Birthday, my son. I love you very much.