My daughter turned 16 last week. She invited a huge bunch of friends over to the house and her mother and I hid in the back and tried not to get in their way too much. We made occasional trips into the common areas just to make sure things weren't getting too out of control, but mostly we let them have their space. The boys were a bit too boisterous for our tastes, but mostly they did great.
She has since gotten many text messages about how it was a great party and everyone had a good time. Her high academic scores are nice, but the fact that she can throw a good party is a special point of pride for us as parents.
Let me just say this, however, to anyone out there who reads "16 year-old daughter" and blanches: keep it to yourself. It seems like virtually any man -- if I tell them my child's age -- will express some kind of misguided sympathy. Especially fathers of daughters themselves! Please know that my female child being on the threshold of adulthood doesn't freak me out. Here is an abbreivated list of the things I don't need:
I don't need to buy a shotgun.
I don't need to learn to be more scary.
I don't need to coax my daughter to eat more and become less desireable. (Seriously)
I don't need to push her into more aggressive contact sports.
I don't need to relentlessly monitor her and audit her choices.
What I need to do is make sure I contine to love and support her, and to help her navigate as best I can this transitional period in her life. I am proud; I am not a patriarch.