At 17, Amazing Grace is still my baby girl. I know this will never change, but it makes it difficult as she gets closer to that fateful big number: 18. After 18 comes going to college. Going to college means leaving me. Leaving me means not needing me. Hubby keeps telling me she will always need me & I tell him that coming home to raid my fridge or do her laundry because she's a broke student is not the same thing as needing me.
|Amazing Grace scooting at 3 months.|
When she bought a car this summer, it was just 1 more symbol to me that every day gets her closer & closer to not needing me. That's our job as parents, right? Prepare these children for their lives as adults apart from us & teach them everything they need to learn in order to be fully functioning adults on their own. While I'm very proud of the young lady she has become & I'm excited for her future, it's not easy for me to accept that 17 years went so fast. I love watching my little baby girl growing into this new person that is capable of so many things & I celebrate each & every milestone, the little ones & the big ones. I consider myself lucky to be the one that was chosen to be her Mom. She's a wonderful, bright, intelligent, loving, caring, feisty, dramatic, take-charge woman who has been by my side helping her siblings & me whenever needed. She really is my world & I don't know what I'm going to do when she isn't here every day.
|Amazing Grace in my arms|
at 5 months.
My life was very different when I was her age. On my 17th Birthday I had a 6 week old baby girl. I have worked hard to provide her with a life different than what mine was--different doesn't always mean better, it's just different--& give her experiences that I missed out on. I want her to enjoy these last teen years in a different way than I did. I marvel at some of the things she's able to do & I get excited seeing her have so much fun.
One of the biggest things that I wanted my Amazing Grace to not experience is teen motherhood. I've talked openly & honestly with her about the struggles & the wonders, the ups & the downs, of having her so young. She's been through it, as that child, & has seen first hand the sacrifices I've made, putting my education off, working multiple jobs at once, missing out on things, to raise my family. I'm so thankful that Amazing Grace has stood firm in her stand to not have sex because she doesn't want to risk changing her life so greatly & she understand what I've repeatedly said about protecting her teen years. It's not just the fear of pregnancy, it's also that she has the rest of her life to be an adult. She will never get her high school years back. I want her to enjoy being a teen & go to college, become the chef & business owner that she's dreamed of being since she was 7. I want her to fulfill her dreams without adding the struggle of a child before she's ready for it. It's one thing to tell a teen that, it's a completely different thing when they've watched their Mom live the struggles you talk about. She gets it in a way that other people just can't.
|Curl Top Amazing Grace in|
her baby brother's bassinet
at 1 1/2.
I am so proud of her that she can say she she is waiting & even though the vast majority of her friends have given in to the idea that it's okay to have sex as a teen, she stands up against them when they tell her it's no big deal. Amazing Grace & her boyfriend just celebrated their 1 year Anniversary & I am so proud of them for sticking with this decision because I know it's not easy. I know why it's not easy. She also knows that it's easier to say no than to get up in the middle of the night to a screaming baby. The girl likes her sleep.
Even more than sleep, she loves shoes.
For the last 4 months, Amazing Grace knew what she wanted for her Birthday: this one pair of shoes. That was it. She sent me a picture of them, told me where to get them, & let me know on more than 1 occasion that she really, really loved these shoes.
|My shoe obsessed girl.|
As a kid my Grandma always got us exactly what we wanted for our Birthdays. I remember her saying one time that on one hand it took the surprise out of it for us when we told her 1 thing we wanted instead of a list to choose from, but on the other hand she loved how happy we were when we opened our present. Nothing made my Grandma happier than seeing her family happy, whether that was stuffing us full of our favorite food ("No one comes to Grandma's without being fed") or going out of her way to get exactly what we wanted for a gift. It's one of the many ways that I am like Grandma. I am happy when my family is happy.
Which is the reason I turned cupcakes into Amazing Grace's favorite characters.
|Minions in prison.|
|Minions smiling in prison.|
|18 smiling Minions.|
|Minions on fire.|
|Minions getting lit.|
And why I bought colored-flame candles to go with the regular, boring-flame candles.
|Blue, pink, green flames.|
How cool is that?
Ginger Girl found those candles in the baking aisle at Target & we'd never seen them before. "She will love these!" Ginger Girl exclaimed, so in our cart they went.
Everyone was so surprised by the colored flames on the candles as they were being lit & Amazing Grace was especially excited. "Mom, it's colored fire! You have to get pictures of them!" Such a little thing, but it made me so happy that she was so excited about it.
She was so surprised by her little Minions & loved all of them. Ginger Girl & I had come up with this off the top of our heads, figuring out what would work best to look like Minions...& then realized we could have just looked to good ol' Ms. Google for info because surely someone else had made these before. But we didn't look online & used our own imaginations, & it was totally, 100%, completely worth it when Amazing Grace looked like this...
|Another Extra Daughter & Amazing Grace|
with their Minions.
|"I love them, Mom!"|
Hubby told everyone to grab the one that looked just like them. I'm not sure why he took this one, because hubby doesn't have a comb-over or a cactus on his face.
|I now know not to make mustaches &|
swirly hair with tubed gel frosting. It
looked good when I made it;
an hour later, not so much.
A quote from 5 year old Amazing Grace, as we were in a church pew singing Amazing Grace, "Mommy, it's so nice of everyone to sing to me like this. I really am special! I like being Amazing Grace." As she turned around & curtsied to the pews of people behind us, I smiled & didn't correct her.
Yes, Amazing Grace, you truly are special & amazing. There is no one like you & I'm so glad you made me a Mom. Happy Birthday, baby girl. I hope all your wishes come true.