Friday, March 20, 2009

Pretty Baby

Teen Angel and Special Delivery

Oh, that girl loves her new cousin. It seems like just yesterday she was the baby, and we were blowing bubbles on her belly and kissing her ear. As I look at this photo, I have one overriding thought: My baby isn't a baby anymore. In fact, everywhere I look these days is a reminder that she's growing up. That she has tossed aside childish things and is well on her way to becoming a young woman.
For example, the last two years she has earned money during the summer by babysitting several days a week and mowing. This summer, she’ll have her first real job where she’ll earn minimum wage and fill out a time card. She’ll be working at our favorite bakery in town. The job market for teens is pretty tight around here, so we were afraid she might have trouble finding something, but she got a call this week from the bakery owner asking her to “be a part of their team”. She goes in next weekend to work out her schedule. She is excited, and so are we because it was probably the hard volunteer work she did in the church kitchen during the ice storm that earned her the recommendation for the job. For that, I’m very proud. She’s a good worker, and I know she’ll do well.

She continues to practice driving, so she can take her driver’s test this June and hopefully, earn her license. And can I just say I think I’ve done a remarkable job of being calm and not grabbing the dashboard or stomping my imaginary brake pedal while giving those lessons from the passenger’s side of the car?. If all goes well, she’ll be driving solo with the sun roof open in two months. Her first summer of independence. And she has had a couple of dates recently. Aye, yi, yi. Is that ever tough to watch her walk out the door on the arm of a boy who thinks he’s Dale Earnhardt, Junior.

In the last month she has received solicitations from four colleges. It’s time for us to start looking at campuses and weighing the options. From what I understand, now is the time to get on waiting lists because it’s getting harder to get accepted just about anywhere these days. She’s already giving me and Hubby a taste of the empty nest syndrome we’ll feel when she goes to college in a couple of years. She was out of town last weekend on a school trip and will be gone again this weekend. We survived last weekend okay, but it was strange. Not bad. We always spend a lot of time together, so we’re not like those couples who don’t know what to say when they are alone together. You know, the folks who drift apart over the years, held together only by their children. But we are used to being a trio, not a duo, so it felt a little odd to be without her. Like we were missing a limb or something. I’m sure she loved it. It was the first time she took a school trip that one of us did not chaperon. It was time for us to take that step, too. To let her be on the road without us, making her own decisions about responsibility and safety.

There comes a time when you have to start giving them some freedom, to stand back and hope they remember what you’ve taught them, remember what you stand for and make the right choices. You know they’ll make some wrong ones along the way, and that’s what is tough. These are some difficult years, but I know we’ll get through it, and this stage will fly by faster than we expected. We’ll have much grayer hair than when we started. On the positive side, she’s a good kid, a really good kid who will probably do great things and make us proud. And I just might score that amaretto scone recipe I’ve been trying to worm out of that bakery for the last year.

8 comments:

Mike Golch said...

yep we all do grow up sooner or later.I hope that you are having a great day today and best wishes for a great weekend as well.

J.G. said...

Teen Angel sounds pretty well-grounded, and hooray for her new job!

Thought of you today while I was looking for that $20 party dress you said was out there. You were right, it was (give or take $4)!

But no chocolate peeps. :-(

Jason, as himself said...

Uh huh! Amelia has been driving now for about four months now, and can I just tell you how much more time I have?

She is really enjoying the increased independence.

She took the SAT last week, and we're starting to think about colleges, too. She just can't decide what she wants to study.

oreneta said...

It's odd and amazing watching them getting older...especially when they can act as our spies and get recipes for us!!!

Trailboss said...

You are so correct is all that you say. It is sometimes hard but we do it because we know it is part of our job as a parent. My daughter is 17 and she's my baby so it will be so werid when she is gone. I don't look for that to be for a while but we really never know. TA looks so much like you! Especially w/the bangs. You know, I have never had anything from that bakery, that is if you are talking about the one that starts w/a K. I have to correct that and get some breakfast or lunch soon. I work really close, just never think about going there.

janjanmom said...

I'd like a honey walnut cookie recipe too!!

Guess her her mailman will be??!! Small world. The mailman gets free cookies, by the way. Sometimes they even make it home. YUM.

Rayne said...

I am right here with you. My oldest is 19 and my youngest is 15 and it is so wonderful and scary at the same time seeing them grow up and make plans and do things on their own. My oldest daughter travels on her own now and it makes me proud to see her independence and she's a seasoned traveler since she grew up as a military child but still...
And yesterday as I was cleaning out the bathroom I finally pulled the mesh bag of bathtub toys out of the back of the closet and threw them away. It made me sad in a way. No more playtime in the tub. Hasn't been for years, of course, but still...

The Church Lady said...

I actually have a tear in my eye after reading your post. I know how you are feeling, my oldest is 12 soon to be 13 in June. I know I still have some time before she goes through these things. You should be proud of yourself for raising a lovely daughter!