Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Countdown Begins (and I'm Not Ready for It. Or Liking It.)

On the last day of May, Hatfield finished 8th grade.  And life as a homeschool student.
This fall, she will head off to a great local, public highschool, about 2 miles down the road from us.

She is ready.  I have zero qualms about her attending high school, other than the fact that I will be lonely without her (after all, she's been home with me since she was 9!)  Hatfield is bright, articulate, super-organized, self-confident and pretty damn kick-ass.  She will take the experience and run with it.

I, however, am kind of not ready.

Strike that.  I'm not at all ready.

I know that the process of watching your children grow up, into their personhoods, making their own choices (especially if they are good choices) is a joy in and of itself.  And it is.

But I feel sad. 

I do not do well with milestones, or changes, or those all-so-clear signs that my children are growing up.  I become very weepy and nostalgic.  I feel regretful over all the things I should have done differently or better.

A predominant personal weakness of mine is that when looking back at events in the past, I am overly harsh and critical of myself.  Instead of remembering all the things I did well, I remember all the things I could have done better.  I emotionally beat myself up, then feel low and drained.

In reality, I shouldn't.  I homeschooled well.  The kids are bright, advanced and equipped for challenges.  But I wish I had spent more time feeling less rushed.  Being more relaxed.  Trying to connect more.  Not having been so focused on an international adoption process that was far beyond my control.

Yeah, especially that last one.

I need to focus more on all the good times that we had.  The years of evenings spent reading Nancy Drew.  The blustery winter days spent curled up in front of the fire place with good books.

I need to focus more on the fact that, despite all my worries about what I did wrong or didn't do enough of, Hatfield has turned out.  She will make it in this world.

Hatfield turned 9 shortly after I started my blog.

Last Thursday, she turned fifteen.

15.  Seriously.  1-5, people.   I have a terribly difficult time grasping that reality.

As we do all birthdays here at the 5FC abode, we kick off the special day the RIGHT way, the Birthday Cake for Breakfast way.

A note about mornings:  Hatfield doesn't like 'em.  They are not friends.  8 am is a dirty word.

Yet, my girls looooovvvveeees birthdays, especially hers.  Presents are definitely her love language.  It was so cute to see her up bright and early and soooooo excited for her birthday!

Hatfield LOVES her new shirt.
 Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty, anyone?  Hattie thinks he's the best!
 I made her favorite cake, an Italian Cream Cake (find the recipe here) with a cream cheese frosting.  I colored the different layer to create a pink ombre.
 Given that Hatfield loves birthdays, and loves presents, it was a bit tough to figure out what would be a great gift for her.  She bought herself an iPad several years ago, and that's her most favorite possession (not that we would spring for an iPad anyway.)  She has saved up several hundred dollars, so if she really wanted something, she could have bought it herself.

We realized that Hatfield is entering a new phase in life-- high school-- and namely, homework.  Being a bit of a nightowl, much like the Mister, having a 7 year old roommate with a far earlier bedtime, while doable, was a bit of a hindrance.

So, we turned the downstairs office into a bedroom for Hatfield.  It's not completely finished, as Boppa is going to install French Doors to close it off, and we have nothing up on the walls.  I will have a huge reveal later.  But here's a sneak peak:
 We bought the bedding and painted the room as part of her birthday present.  She chose each, and I love her style.

We are using my cottage chic china cabinet to house her collectibles and some clothing.  As you can see, three walls are a lavender, and one is a beautiful spring green.
 Because the room is, in essence, a dining room, no closet exists.   Instead, we took an old wood armoire from the deep, dark belly of my mother's basement storage room, and Hatfield spent two days sanding, priming and painting it.

When your children are little, you spend a lot of time counting down to that next milestone of independence.  When they can walk.  When they can talk.  When they can use the potty.  When you, the Mama, can use the potty without being interrupted by a little person. You wait and watch and count days until a bit of independence allows you to breath a bit easier and enjoy it a bit more.

Now that my girl is 15, and enrolled in high school, I can't shake this overwhelming feeling that we are in a Reverse Count Down of sorts.  Just 1 more year until she has the freedom of driving.  Just 3 more birthdays as a child at home.  Just 4 more school years with her here at home.

I hate it.  Absolutely, positively hate this countdown.

Every year, I create a goal for myself, usually while I'm in Orlando (more on that another time.)  This past March, I said that I'm going to focus on building family fun with the kids in our house, instead of feeling worried or regretful about what is missing or what is different about us.  Just enjoying everyone, as best as I can, and focusing on fun, and not letting the little stuff get in the way of that.

This summer made me realize just how much I want to focus on having Fun and Girl Time with my Hattie Lou.  Next month, we are going back to school shopping (something homeschoolers do not do) in Milwaukee.  In August, we arranged for Hatfield and some family to spend the night at a haunted farm house (or rather, the barn, really) in Iowa, because my girl LOVES ghosts and being freaked out (clearly, she did not get that from her bawk-bawk-pass-the-chicken-Mama.)

Because seriously, it's just a few years left.  Less time left than the amount of time which has passed since I started blogging.  It goes by all too quickly, and that is a great reminder to just be in the moment and enjoy.


Corey said...

I don't know why the new room makes me want to cry. But it does.

Beautiful her. Beautiful you.

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

ah! so much to comment on! Love the room, and especially the colors. That cake looks fabulous, and is that a post- 86 rose or flamingo Fiesta plate it's on?
Hattie is an amazing girl with so much going for her, and that is cuz she has a great mom.

Anonymous said...

Hattie is one incredible young lady. She makes me proud and I love her very much.

It does make me cry a bit, however, because I know she is growing up and, before you know it, she'll be an adult in the world.

Thank you for being a wonderful mother to our daughter. She is a joy to be around.

-Mr. Daddy

Last Mom said...

My girl is only 12 and I'm feeling the reverse countdown thing. I think because she didn't come to me until nine. Now that she's on the verge of teen I'm realizing how little time I'll have with her as a kid and how much I missed.

AM said...

I am overwhelmed. I have known Hatfield since the beginning. Heck, I threw the baby shower.

I haven't seen her in about a year and I recall that the last time, I thought she was growing up but these pictures....Sarah, my eyes are swelling with tears.

She is quite the young lady.

Little Hattie has grown up.

MIss you all