Family Gene-ius: Legal Eagle

Family Gene-ius: Legal Eagle

Shreya Shankar

My 18th birthday: now an adult and a kid.

As of 11:34 a.m., Monday Jan. 12, I officially became a legal adult. Image
I did most of the things any eager 18-year-old would do on her birthday. I registered to vote, entered a sweepstakes contest, bought a lotto ticket, and contemplated getting married just because I could (Justin Timberlake, where are you?). There are many things left on my list to do, but I'm proud of how productive of an adult I immediately was.
But to be totally honest, being 18 doesn't feel much different. I realized this for two reasons.

The first reason was that my birthday snuck up on me. Between the craziness of break and the first week back to school (you know that thing… senioritis? Spoiler alert: it sucks when you have senioritis but still have tons of stuff to do), I really didn't have time to get excited about my birthday, but this was taken care of by the endless texts, Facebook wall posts, phone calls, and presents given to me by my awesome friends and family.

The second (and bigger) reason I realized why being 18 didn't feel different to me was because of what I discovered over my birthday dinner with my family at a fabulous Thai restaurant called Blue Mango.

My mom and I were talking about the things I could do now that I was 18 (she didn't think the marriage thing was as funny as I did). I mentioned to her that earlier in the day, I had thought about getting another ear piercing. She wasn't too excited about the idea but simply said, "Well, you're an adult, so you can do whatever you want."

There have been so many times in my life that I've longed for her to say those words to me. Now she had finally said it, but I wasn't nearly as happy as I thought I would be.

Many people look forward to their 18th birthday so they can really feel independent and I'm no exception to that. But throughout the day as I texted my mom, it felt weird to think that I was now "independent" from her. All the things most people get excited to do without their parents' consent just didn't make me excited. When I contemplated getting my ears pierced, my first instinct was to call her and see what she thought, even though the whole thrill of getting my ears pierced was supposed to be because I was 18 and could do stuff like that. Even as a legal adult, I realized I'll always be dependent on her.

My mom texted me on Monday at the exact time I was born: "Happy birthday my 18 year old! Love you! You will always be my baby. ALWAYS!"

I think I may be excited about being her baby more than being a legal adult. Fancy that.