There’s no argument. No loopholes. No way around it. When your youngest child turns 18, it says certain things about you that can’t be denied. And Carley Renae has done that today. She’s 18. A legal adult now in every state. She can vote. She can buy a lottery ticket. She can enlist in the army. She can get a tattoo or a nose-piercing without a parent’s permission (sigh). She can skydive, buy fireworks, and be called for jury duty. She can sue somebody.

And she can keep hanging out with her great friends, eating gourmet pizza at Palio’s, listening to Tom Petty and Aerosmith, watching 1980s movies, driving her little green car to Canyon and back, and eating grapes. She can keep drinking exotic waters, memorizing Seinfeld lines, making salsa, and taking 45-minute showers. And she can keep blessing our family and filling our house with her inexhaustible love, joy, and laughter.


We celebrated her 18th early, last night, with Palio’s pizza and an escape room experience at Amarillo Escape and Mystery with Kayla, Rebecca, Madison, Hannah, and Tatum. Then it was back to the house for Carley’s favorite cookie cake and Blue Bell, chips and dips, coconut tea, a few cards and gifts, and a living room screening of 10 Cloverfield.

Happy Birthday, Carley. We love you, girl. It’s an indescribable pleasure to watch you grow up in the grace and truth of our Lord, to see your servant heart reflect the love of Christ, and to listen to your dreams and plans for the future. We’re still a long way from college, a long way from having to make any big decisions, a long way from that next phase of your life. Don’t rush it. Don’t wish this current year away. I know you’re chomping at the bit to go conquer the universe, but this senior year of yours is special. Enjoy it. Live it. Love it.

If nothing else, try to slow this thing down for your old man.

Love you, Bear.