Eighteen

Hard to believe the oldest kid turned 18 this week.

It’s funny, in that in some ways everything changes due to the things you can do at 18. Yet nothing changes, still being in high school, having no legal ID, etc.

The kid in question is most interested in computer science, and plans to start with a 2 year degree locally in that for the sake of affordability and easier admission to college in France later. Assuming Europe isn’t engulfed in… tumult… by then. The Europe thing relates to an interest in languages. Senior year features French 2 and 3, Russian 2, and no math because the was no room for AP Stats after the languages. AP Stats went to Honors to fit the extra language. Then we had to fight with the school once AP Computer Science A was offered, to replace Stats with that. They treat it as mandatory to take a math, any math, in senior year as state colleges look for it, even if you took seniors-only AP Calculus in junior year and got A+ all four terms, then a 5 on the AP test (5 or 4 gets college credit).

She also refuses to take the SAT. Yet just this week got recognition for having the highest PSAT score in the school, one of only two students getting the recognition. The other is the valedictorian. They’re supposed to go to a school committee meeting next week to be recognized there.

It’s all about computer science, math, languages (the first one was self-taught German, and Germany was the original target for college in Europe), and specifically AI and Quantum Computing. Those last two were side classes loosely connected but not with the local school. Quantum was last year, sponsored by IBM, on weekends. AI turned out to be available, same idea, this year. The big interest is use of AI and quantum computing for natural language processing. When she was little we joked she’d invent FTL. Now it’s the Universal Translator.

There’s been some weirdness. Not having a license and no intention of getting one, there’s been no ID. SSDI for the kid going to a parent stops at 18 or after high school graduation, whichever comes second. You have to get evidence the kid is still in school, and they like having an account to deposit it into directly. To the kid, no longer the parent. The school has used something other than her birth name for six years, so it was exciting getting stuff from the school with the birth name. A checking account existed, but there were no checks. In a panic over deadlines and checks not making it in time (they did), Mom unit added a savings as an alternative. That triggered the Patriot Act, of all things! Which triggered the need for an ID. Then they seemed to be OK without it, so no appointment was made. Then they demanded it and even though it’d be too late, an appointment was made. Then changed to a bad RMV location due to a water line break in the local one. That came This Close, but the kid took pity on the Mom not wanting to go and they didn’t. Wasn’t needed anyway.

So now it’s easy to do a legal name change. We were going to do it and as 18 approached it was clear it’d be easier for the kid to be the petitioner. Just the one person and a notary. Who requires an ID! And now the soonest appointment is late October! As an RMV location nowhere near us! The bank accounts are in some kind of limbo, but maybe not as much now that the kid is 18 and “owns” them, but Mom’s name is still on them. The SSDI thing is all straight and as far as they know there is no account so they’re sending a check. The kid wanted to wait to get a job until no work permit from the school was required. That may or may not be possible without a government photo ID, since there’s SS card and birth certificate. But bonus if it could be after the name change. Which was the other reason for delaying an ID, so it could have the preferred name from the outset. So it’s ironic an ID is required to get the name change. Only because a notary is required to ask it! Even ones we know personally from my past work for law firms can’t help, even though they know who she is an when she was born.

Then there’s the job thing. Ideally there would have been one with lots of hours over the summer, as younger sister has in mind for her summer before senior year. An intense school and private study schedule leading to having more than half a year of college credits (AP plus a class during Covid) will make it interesting enough, and availability won’t be wide open on the weekends due to lab for the AI class. Still, there’s a store that at least 4 cousins worked at in the past, between here and school, easy walking distance. Bonus that people sort of know me so even if they weren’t hiring so effusively it might help. Bonus that it’s a reputable place to work. Apart from being retail, of course. So what do we want to do? Apply to a hole in the wall chain pharmacy 2 miles away so a friend can get a referral bonus. It’s a pretty much unwalkable, unsafe stretch, on top of the distance. It has a reputation as a horrible place to work. The pay may be better than the other option (and there are others – not like when I was a teen/newly minted adult and jobs weren’t a thing – but at least I could drive). Apparently there is a public transit option from the school to there, but rides home are going to be pretty much a given. Which counters the whole “adult now, make your own mistakes” thing.

That said, we couldn’t be prouder. And astounded at the passage of time.