Yesterday marked a small but momentous step toward adulthood for my daughter. She opened up her first checking account. She’s had a savings account through my credit union for a while, but no easy access to her funds and no obligation to keep track of her balance. She was all at once very sure of herself as she sat confidently at the banker’s desk while asking me for advice on things such as passwords and security questions. She did not actually order any checks, but expressed that having a debit card will be life-changing.
Life changing – what a mouthful. In one short year she’ll be headed off to college. She’ll be exposed to all sorts of influences, some good, some bad. She’ll face challenges all on her own. She’ll even, hopefully, do her own laundry. She got her first big taste of independence this past year when she got her driver’s license and shortly after her own car, in a deal she cooked up on her own, paid for by her own money. I’m all at once proud of the woman she is becoming and terrified at all the missteps she has yet to take without the cushioned fall that living at home affords.
During this last year, I plan to relish every minute – even the hormone-induced tirades, the missed curfews, the toothpaste spit she leaves in the sink, the dirty clothes that have oozed out of her room and into every other room of the house, the ants that are attracted to the wrappers and empty cups she leaves around the house, the eye rolls, the spontaneous laughter, the funny stories, the intelligent and thoughtful political and social opinions, the rare hug, her soft snore, her sage fashion advice, and the girl talk. I plan to schedule fun activities for us as a family, and I’m saving up for one last great spring break trip. I plan to hold my tongue and criticize less, look the other way for the minor infractions, and keep the house stocked with good food so I know she’ll at least stop by to eat between school, sports and social activities. I plan to be there when she needs me and take a step back when she doesn’t.
I am still co-owner on that checking account. I will definitely check to be sure the balance doesn’t get too low. But I may also sneak a tank’s worth of gas money in there once in a while.