My firstborn is 17 today. Where have the years gone? I confess, I don’t want to relive many of them. She was quite a handful for her first, oh, 16 years! I never imagined she’d be such a delightful young lady (although we’re still working on the “lady” part) at 17.

Why does 17 seem so much older than 16? Is it because 18 and independence are only a year away? I don’t know. But as I thought about it this morning, I realized how many things happened the year I was 17.

At 17, I ended my junior year of high school, started my senior year, got accepted to college, had my first boyfriend and my first date to Homecoming. My first job outside of retail came the summer I was 17—answering phones for an insurance agent, although mostly I read book after book in between calls! I also had my first taste of death when a childhood friend (and my first elementary school crush) died in a car accident that same summer. I remember feeling so grown up that year, making plans for the future, feeling secure in my place at school and with my friends yet looking forward to new experiences and new friendships on the horizon.

My daughter’s going out for dinner tonight with five of her girl friends. It’s been hard on her daddy that she didn’t want us along. But I understand. I remember. And I pray that 17 will be a year full of wonderful things for her.

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