My daughters, Abbey and Jaiden, recently started a new year of high school together. And what a rough start it was.

Even on their first day of school, it was clear it would not be an easy transition back into the daily school grind. Almost immediately, they were given a mountain of homework to complete with a quiz or two just on the horizon.

But that wasn’t their only obstacle.

In the midst of starting a new school year, we took a short trip to New York City for my niece’s baptism. As fun as the experience was, it definitely threw a wrench into an already rough start to the school year. Not only were the girls trying to enjoy a much needed trip, but they were also immediately responsible for completing several days worth of schoolwork before they returned. Needless to say, it didn’t make for a very relaxing time.

It was particularly rough for 16-year-old Abbey, who learned this week the hard truth about what it means to finally become an adult.

In addition to her already heavy coursework, she began adding driving hours to her driver’s education course, fitting in both a weekly practice and game for a recreational soccer team and she started her very first job at a local grocery store. Things are moving along quickly, and she is starting to understand that not only is being an adult not always fun, it’s tiring too.

As a junior in high school, she had to know the luxury of childhood would eventually come to an end, but I’m not sure she was prepared for the intensity with which adulthood would come hurling towards her. But she took it like a champ.

And I'm not surprised.

To say Abbey has always been mature for her age would be an understatement. As the oldest, she has always accepted her role as the more responsible one. From a very young age — even before Jaiden was born — Abbey has always lived her life on the straight and narrow. Not one to take risks or make a scene, she was commonly known by her teachers as "the good one" or the "model child." This reputation has followed her throughout her life, with a few exceptions.

So I was confident she would welcome this harsh thrust into adulthood the same way she does most other daunting tasks — with a level head and a plan.

Going forward, learning to fit everything in will take much more planning and precision than she has been used to in the past. She’ll need to learn to not only prioritize her time, but her finances as well — especially if she wants to have something to drive when she finishes up driver’s education.

Becoming an adult isn’t the easiest task, but it’s one I am confident Abbey will master in time. After her first couple of weeks, she is already showing promise as she handles all life has to throw at her in stride. I’m proud of the progress she has made already, and I’m hopeful for the growth I’m sure to witness in years to come.


Amanda Smith, a working mom of two children, writes weekly for momaha.com. Read more from Amanda »

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