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By Beth Day
from ,PA

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Seventeen....I know I should remember seventeen but, truely, when I gave birth to her seventeen years ago--I could barely remember seventeen!

I was thirty and she was a beautiful baby- New and perfect. So quiet...even with the trauma of coming into this world...that my first words to her were the plea, "Cry, baby!" So quiet, I thought something was amiss. "She's O.K.", the nurse assured me.

Seventeen... I'm sure at seventeen I was much like her- ready to take on the world- No Fear- No Compromise! But... my perspective has changed....seventeen is still a baby..at least it is to me! I remember her newborn skin- indescribably soft as my lips brushed her tiny cheeks. Oh, how I savored that softness knowing that this beautiful skin would soon suffer all of the childhood bumps, scrapes and cuts- never to be the same again.

How could things have changed so much in seventeen short years? The quiet is gone replaced with debate! The softness is gone replaced with the physical and emotional bruises of seventeen years of life! She knows Just enough...she knows seventeen years worth...not enough for the real world... but Just enough! Enough to be bold and unafraid.

She knows how to melt my heart with a kind word as well as with a firey reprimand. She can bring me to tears with compassion as well as with guilt. We are very alike yet very different. We cling to each other yet we rage against each other. When told that we look alike she cringes and rolls her eyes- I swell with pride...because she is beautiful!!-- but she doesn't believe it- she thinks I'm lying and she Can't believe it!

Seventeen... She wants to go- get away from her "small" "sad" "bad" world. She wants to go Big and Far and Fast and NOW!!!! And me...I'm holding on, holding tight, holding her back, holding her down!!! "Let me Go! You're such a bitch!" "No, you're a bitch!" Touche'!!!

Does it have to be like this?!......Yes! It has to hurt... just like seventeen years ago. We have to separate and it has to hurt! The pain helps! If there was no pain in this separation we would cling to one another. The separation could not take place. We would suffocate one another by clinging. She could not grow past seventeen!

I know she will love me again for once she is past sevevteen she will know more than Just seventeen...but I have to let her get there!!

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