My oldest granddaughter and her dad have been car shopping.
They came home with a 2005 red Mustang. Chloe is beside herself happy with the car that she can't legally drive all by herself for another year.
She doesn't even mind sharing it with Dad for that year. It is by far the coolest car they looked at.
On this happy occasion, knowing what this milestone means in the life of a teenager about to get that big first step toward real independence, I have to confess, after I called and congratulated her and told her how cool it is she's got her own car, I hung up and cried.
Wasn't it just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital, this little red-haired amazing bundle of smiles and energy that captivated all her extended family from the moment she first yawned? It seems like just a week ago that we all sat around her baby quilt, spread out on the floor with her in the middle, just watching for her to do something we could videotape.
"Oh, look, she moved her little pinky. Oh, what a cute sneeze!"
At 9 months when she said her first word, "Meow" in a perfect imitation of the cat that was her first greeter when she woke each morning, we were enthralled.
I haven't been this sad since my oldest daughter started kindergarten.
Why does time have to fly by at such an ever-increasing pace? How can she this big, this soon? College, moving out, living on her own, even moving away to take a first job are all in the ever-accelerating pipeline.
There's no greater joy than seeing your kids become strong, independent adults making their mark in the world. And there is no greater sadness and no harder job than letting them go.
I'm still trying to figure out how to describe the emotion of seeing a grandchild take that first really big step out into the world where they have to apply all the lessons learned and demonstrate that they got the message of the all the lectures on responsibility.
Heaven help us all. This is the kid that wants to be an astronaut.