The Edge of 17 Is Here and It’s Weighing Heavily On Me

The edge of 17 is here. And the weight of it is heavier than I thought it would be.

I remember it well from the archives of my own heart. Too old for so much. But too young for the thought of just one more year of childhood.

I see my son living on that edge of 17. Just a few more days of the sweetness of 16-where things still feel a little innocent and new. The novelty of driving. The freedom of later nights out. The pride of earning a first paycheck. The thrill of spending it. 

At 17 he is still a boy but an emerging man. (Photo credit: David Keyes)

17 feels like a real turning point

The edge of 17 feels like the real turning point of youth. Where the pressures of the future begin to weigh down. The endless questions about life plans after high school. The standardized tests lurk around the corner. Prom waiting in the wings. One more summer before the wind blows him in a new direction. The beginning of the end of a journey that in so many ways feels like it just began. 

I see my kid-on the edge of 17; equal parts teen and almost man. I watch him, from a close distance- but a distance all the same. Glimpses of a future I know is coming so quickly and that I will not be a part of every day anymore. 

I find myself fading into the background

I find myself fading into the background as I peer over this edge of 17. Taking quick glances through the crack of his door as he studies the pile of work stacked on his desk. Making himself a quick dinner after a hard track workout or a night at a long shift. Searching for his car keys under piles of laundry that he’s too busy to put away. 

All the while still grasping tightly to the last whispers of childhood. It’s a funny thing- this growing up business. 

I feel like I was just at the edge of 17 myself. Living for the time when the future was my own, and at the same time not quite ready for it. I remember feeling so ready for the “what’s next,” and at the same time so unprepared to navigate it on my own. Wanting to be so grown, but not necessarily wanting  to be a grown up. Looking through a telescope into the panorama of adulthood and wanting the small part that seemed so free. But not having the full lens for the whole picture. 

17 is learning to do all the things

The edge of 17 is still learning how to do all the  things, even when you feel like you have so much figured out already. How to make food. How to unclog toilets. How to manage a bank account. How to pay your rent. How to change a light bulb and a tire. How to remember to move laundry to the dryer without a reminder.  

All the stuff that slowly turns our youth into adulthood.

The edge of 17 is ready to leave the nest with wings that are almost at full flutter. It’s the last set of training wheels before the cycle into the uncharted paths of adulthood. It’s both heartbreaking and full of hope.

It’s hard to believe I am the mother of a 17 year old

I often sit in wonder and marvel at the fact that I am already a parent of a kid who is at the edge of 17. With a heart overflowing with all the emotion.  Pondering how I’m ever going to be able to fully comprehend how he’s outgrown all of the 16 years of previous versions himself. 

But here we are. On the edge of 17. In a few days the sun will set on 16, and rise to 17. 

And though it will seem in the moment like just another Tuesday, I know that  with it, will come the edge of adulthood. 

More Great Reading:

The Summer Of Letting Go Is Here, and I Feel It More Deeply Now

About Amy Keyes

Amy Keyes is the proud mom of two teenagers and a crazy husky-lab named Walter. Married to the best college sweet cheeks a girl could have ever found. Former journalist turned middle school teacher, running and workout enthusiast, and enjoyer of dance parties for one. There's nothing she loves more than watching her kids do what they love and rediscovering herself in the process.

Read more posts by Amy

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