I am lucky to have four children, ranging in age from 12 to 26 (the boy is the oldest: the other three are girls). The two older offspring have launched into adulthood and are off the parental payroll. My next eldest daughter, Amanda, is 16 years old - a magical/terrifying year in the typical human's life. My youngest girl has just turned 12 and is gingerly navigating the choppy waters of middle school. It is the 16-year old that has had the biggest life change recently - she has taken Her First Job.
Amanda has always been fascinated by plants and nature - she loves to hike in the woods, and she can stare at flowers for a very long time without becoming bored. It seemed very sensible to follow this passion into the workplace, so she applied for and was hired as a part-time worker in a major nursery in our area. It is quite interesting to observe the changes in Amanda's perspective now that she is in the workforce - she is incensed when a co-worker slacks off, she is delighted to hang around plants all day and she is interacting easily and comfortably with many strangers (Amanda has never been an extremely outgoing person in the past, but she is when she is on the job).
Like any parent, I am proud of what she is doing at this nursery. I am also relieved - it looks like she will be able to navigate her working life successfully. It looks like she will come off the parental payroll, just like her tow older siblings. Whew.