This weekend was the opening weekend of archery season, and throughout the weekend as I was taking pictures and watching our girlies, I just *knew* I’d be posting tonight about all our adventures from this amazing (but brutally cold) weekend we were having.
So tonight, as I sat here, the thoughts and feelings going on inside my head are a little surprising to me. Yes, we had great adventures this weekend, and I have lots to post about it, but that post will have to wait.
The thoughts that are burning their way to the surface of my mind really have nothing to do with our amazing weekend, rather, they are a jumbled mess of “remember whens . . . .”.
Tonight is the first “official” school night of the year for our girlies. We managed to come home from hunting, unpack, check for ticks (ugh!), shower, have a nice dinner, AND get to bed on time tonight. Three of our girls are here under our roof, sleeping away – they are all so very excited to be going back to school. Emma was with us this weekend, but she is now back at her dad’s (presumably sleeping since it’s now 10:00), getting ready for her first day, as well.
Last year was the first time that I had been sad when my girls started school, and it was because Emma had decided to live with her dad and try school in Heppner. It was the first time EVER that I had not been with her on her first day of school. You can read all about that HERE.
This year, I find that I am unusually retrospective (is that really a word?). I have spent the day remembering little bits and pieces of each girls’ education. Their achievements, milestones, stumbles, and highlights.
Emma started school here in Irrigon, attended through second grade, then we moved to Hermiston for two years, where she attended West Park Elementary. Once we were able to move back to Irrigon, she was at Irrigon Elementary for two years, and then last year made the switch to Heppner Junior/Senior High School. In that time, she has excelled! She has blossomed into a beautiful, charming, sweet young woman, and I am so very proud of her. Oh, she’s definitely not perfect – she knows how to push my buttons, and she does it well, but she really is such a beautiful person. As I was thinking about all the changes she’s gone through, and the choices she’s made, it dawned on me – she only has 5 years of school left. That triggered a HOLY CRAP! Where did the last 14 years go, and how the heck can I get some of that time back? I know the next 5 years are going to absolutely fly by, but I am not ready for that. I’m not ready for her to be grown yet. My biggest struggle with Emma is having to teach myself how to give her the freedom she needs, to release the reins of control I need so badly, and find a balance in both of our stubborn natures to provide the level of give and take that works for both of us.
My Harley Girl. My only brown-eyed, brown-haired girl. She is such a kind-hearted, loving little girl. She wears her heart on her sleeve, but she won’t let anyone get the best of her. She started school in Hermiston at West Park, and then she has gone to school here ever since. She is starting fourth grade at AC Houghton Elementary. Fourth grade? Seriously? Surely I meant to type First grade. No? Well, okay. Harley is that baby of mine who gave me all sorts of heart failure before she could even talk. She was premature. She stopped breathing on us several times, she spent many many overnights in the hospital before she was even a year old, she was the one baby who was not easy. While she struggled her first couple of years, in school she has always thrived. She’s our laid back, relaxed kiddo who never lets anything bother her. The only time she struggles in school is when she is lazy, or isn’t willing to try. This baby girl, who terrified me that she wouldn’t see her first birthday, is turning 10 years old in a little over a month. I am learning how to encourage her to always try her hardest (even at math) without “forcing” her to do her work.
Miss Katelyn. This girl, let me tell you, is a piece of work. She is a giggle monster, a joke teller, a lover, and a beauty. Miss Katelyn isn’t my natural child, but you sure wouldn’t know it to look at her compared to Emma & Reagan. She fits right in with her blond hair and blue eyes. I have never thought of Katelyn as my “step-daughter”, rather, she’s just another one of my girls. I truly believe I was meant to be her mother, even though I was not the woman who gave birth to her. She, like Harley, started school in Hermiston, and part-way through her Kindergarten year came to live with us full-time. So, when we moved to Irrigon, she got to start first grade here just like Harley. She has excelled in school, and she very rarely struggles. Also like Harley, when she does struggle in school, it’s usually because she’s not giving her full effort or being a bit lazy. She is always receiving wonderful comments from her teachers about how helpful and nice she is. I am so very very proud of her. At times, we struggle, the two of us, trying to find the right path together, and often my patience is tested. Through Katelyn, I am trying to learn to be more lenient, and to let stuff roll off my back. My Miss Katelyn will probably be the one daughter who helps me learn to be a better parent the most.
Reagan. Um yeah, what do I say about the whirling dirvish in our life? When Reagan started Kindergarten last year, I was completely thrilled because I knew there would finally be something that would keep her little mind busy! We weren’t even two weeks into summer yet when she proclaimed she was “bored” and wanted homework to do. SHE. NEVER. STOPS. Unless she is sound asleep. Reagan is such a curious little girl – she thirsts for information, and she will drink up anything you give her. She has read books this summer like she was running a marathon – I think she read at least 50, probably even more. The only problem with Reagan is that SHE REMEMBERS EVERYTHING. Even the stuff you don’t wan’t her to remember; sometimes it makes for embarassing moments for Mom. 🙂 I wasn’t emotional last year when she started Kindergarten, but this year, its strange that my baby is starting First grade. I’m not sure I’m ready for my last girlie to be heading into full-blown elementary school. Reagan is a child with a mind of her own, and she is not afraid to go her own way. She only tests my patience on a good day, and she nearly drives me to drink on her off days (thankfully those are few and far between). She is truly an amazing, gifted child, and I can’t wait to see what her future holds.
I am excited to see what this year brings for all four of our girls, for Aaron & me, and for our family. The beginning of a new school year is always a little bittersweet, but it is also the exciting start of the next chapter of our lives, like a good book you can’t put down. So, here’s to a GREAT school year with a First Grader, two Fourth Graders, and an Eighth Grader, and I pray for a calm year as we navigate the waters of the Sea of Estrogen we call our life.