As my daughter nears her sixteenth birthday, I’m noticing that her growth as a person is increasing exponentially with each year. In the old days, her maturity was happily and easily measured by annual report cards and steadily increasing clothing sizes during each year’s back-to-school shopping spree. These days, her rites of passage are tougher to measure because her maturity and eagerness, like her longer legs, make for bigger steps at a much faster rate. First steps and words have given way to her first job, later curfews, excitement for driving, SAT’s and saving to travel abroad (without a parent, mind you). And as we discuss plans for college, a career and a life of her own, I’m full of pride and anticipation. After all, my little girl has grown to be a passionate, intelligent and independent young woman. But as she approaches the mid-point of her high school career I’m also struck with a bit of melancholy, because despite my long-held belief that children are only on loan to us – I never understood how quickly that loan would be due.