Today I am very nostalgic and travelling down memory lane.
This week my first baby, the one who for the longest time I thought was going to be my only baby, started Year 6. She is growing up. Over the summer holidays, I saw just how much she has grown up, and everyday lately, she does something to surprise and amaze me, and make me proud.
Last year, in fact the last 18 months, have been incredibly hard for her, so for Maddi to come out on the other side stronger, more confident, and still happy is a miracle. She went from being an only child of a single mum her whole life, to allowing Shane to come into our lives. She embraced him, and today proudly calls him Dad. That still makes me cry. We didn't get there without bumps along the way, but we got there. Then, she became a big sister, and rather than just her & I, we are a family. She is part of something bigger, and as such, her role in life has changed. Again, not the smoothest road, but we got here. She relishes her new role as a family member, not just my daughter.
She has over the past few months, developed her own style, her hair, her clothes, even her deodorant are all of her own choosing and her style says a lot about her personality. Its all bright, colourful, smells like cotton candy and flowers. She is a young lady now, and she is happy with who she is. She has also developed a passion for looking after herself. Everything from exercise to cleaning her face, she does it everyday so she can look and more importantly feel her best.
Despite a very rough year at school last year, with a teacher who didnt understand her and made her feel useless and stupid, she went back to school excited about the new year. She loves her new teacher, is excitedly coming home talking about all the new things they are learning. She volunteers for the schools Youth Environmental Council, and was accepted into the year 6 buddy program to help the Kindy kids settle in as a mentor. She does choir, and this year her grade is performing a modified version of guys and dolls which she is closely involved with, and plans on auditioning naturally. Her passion for music continues to astound me. She can play the keyboard so well, writes her own songs & music and can play almost anything just by listening to it a few times.
She has taken on chores, something she has never really been interested in before, then again, what kid is really?! She now has the responsibility of a mobile phone, and knows if she wants credit, she has to pay for half of it out of her pocket money. No chores = no pocket money = no credit. She isnt silly! But rather than moan and groan, she looks for chores to do, knowing she wont get paid extra, but just wanting to help her family.
The fun thing....we had THE talk. She already knew where babies came from, obviously, and how they get out, she knew that sex makes babies, so it wasnt the longest of talks, but to explain the, um, mechanics of it all, was no where near as bad as I thought! She listened, asked a few questions and that was it. She was ok with it. I remember being traumatised by it! I had no warning, I was completely naive to where babies even came from, so the shock of it all, how it happens, was awful! I often wondered if answering her questions honestly was the right thing to do....I now know it was!
She loves Scouts, and is constantly looking at ways to gain her badges, and is so excited about the upcoming Jamboree next January. It will be the longest she has ever been away from home, and it scares me. All the things and experiences she will have will change her, she will grow up even more, become more independent, and while it makes me so proud, it also makes me a little sad. Knowing she wont, cant be my baby forever is a hard lesson to learn.
But, watching her grow into a beautiful, confident young lady fills me with pride. We have had a rough ride, and for her to come out of it all, being so happy and confident says I must have been doing something right. I often think Im failing my girls, that my parenting skills are lacking and that they will end up in therapy telling their therapist how its all my fault. But maybe, just maybe, that constant fear ensures I do the right thing by my girls, make the right choices for them, and help and guide them into adulthood equipped with what they need to make it in the "real" world. I sure do hope so anyhow!
I love you Maddi and Im so proud of you, each and every day and I always will be...whether you become a Vet, a teacher, a garbage collector...it doesnt matter. As long as you are happy and following your heart, I will be proud of you!