Can you believe that I am now the father of a 16 year old?
Either can I.
Happy Birthday, Jade.
My oldest daughter has just turned 16. That is simply a magical event! Okay, maybe “magical” is the wrong word. “Miraculous” might be more appropriate.
You see, anyone who has had a child, seen a child, known a child or…been a child will know that, with kids…accidents happen. All the time!
It really is amazing anyone gets to adulthood.
Now, I’m sure good parenting plays a role, but I think it’s more a testament to the durability of children. They may be vulnerable, but they’re not exactly fragile.
Any parent who has cringed in horror, while witnessing their toddler run full bore into the corner of a table, only to see them get up, shake their heads back into consciousness, and continue on their playful journey will know what I’m talking about.
If an adult experienced a similar accident – but with, obviously, a much bigger table - they’d be in the hospital with whiplash, a broken nose, and severe head trauma.
Anyways, Jade has survived to see 16...and we’re glad.
Teenagers are an interesting lot. With eight years as a youth pastor and two years with Youth Unlimited (formerly, YFC), I spent my entire 20’s investing in the lives of young people. But, it’s a very different experience when the teen you're building into is YOUR teen.
One thing I’ve discovered about people, in general, is that most never seem happy with their age. Adults always want to be younger - like the 40-year old, who has been perpetually 29 – and teenagers always want to be older.
I noticed this with Jade.
When she was 12…she was 12. But when she turned 13…she was “almost 14”. Then she turned 14, and was “almost 16”.
A few hours into her 15th birthday she announced that she was only three years away from 18. What!?
Now 16, she’s pretty much 42, with three children, married to a lawyer in Miami with a beach house.
I’m like, “Whoa, slow down pumpkin! Let daddy enjoy these maturing years: The anxiety about boys, the stress of hormonal changes, the financial debt caused by trying to buy your love and affection…so, you say he’s a lawyer with a beach house, eh? When, exactly, can we get this deal done?”
Teenagers are an odd bunch. Things happen to teenagers that I just can’t explain…In fact, I don’t think they can either. For instance, last winter, Jade was out with a bunch of her friends. At the end of the day, I picked her up and she said, “Dad, I got this huge splinter in my finger”. When I asked how it happened she said, “We were building a snowman.”
A snowman! How does a person get a splinter from a snow man?! Only a teenager…
Actually, I still don’t know how she did it, because I never followed up on it…I was just happy she was talking to me.
Jade is a good kid. She probably wouldn’t want me calling her a kid, but I call 20-year olds “kid”. It’s sad, but it’s a sign that I’m getting old. This year I turned 29 for the 8th straight year.
Heidi and I are very proud of her.
She is becoming a beautiful young lady, with a solid head on her shoulders and a deep desire to do what is right. Those are certainly reasons to be thankful.
Jade is also growing more responsible. Her increased help around the house, by daily doing dishes and making lunches, is a huge help and much appreciated.
A talented “artist”, Jade is beginning to show a lot of promise in her early photography work, while also developing a very cool and unique drawing style. Just recently, I saw her in a rare dramatic performance. Also, very impressive.
I think her 17th year will be filled with great things. I hope she continues to make wise decisions, grow in faith, hope and love, and develop her artistic skills.
But the thing I love the most, is her deep involvement in the early stages of my comedy career. She has been my travel companion, my photographer, my Facebook expert, my graphic designer, etc. Hopefully, one day soon she’ll manage my merchandise.
I can not fully express how much I love having her around in these capacities. When most parents don’t ever see their teenagers, I consider myself very blessed that I have a 16-year old daughter wanting to help her dad.
Jade. I love you. I’m very thankful for you. I’m very proud of you.
Happy 16th Birthday,