Friday, January 23, 2009

I Can Let Them Grow Up

It really didn't occur to me 15 years ago when I was holding my first golden-haired baby girl in my arms that she would actually grow up. But she is. And I'm going to be okay, I think.

Samantha Rae turned 15 on Wednesday. She was so excited and so funny on Tuesday. She kept coming in and telling me "I'm going to be 15" "I'll be 15 tomorrow" "I'm almost 15." HA like I didn't know!

I think she had a pretty good day. We have a tradition that the birthday girl gets to have dinner with one friend at the restaurant of their choosing. So Britni and I took Sami and her boyfriend to dinner at International Buffet and had a perfect evening. Tomorrow Sami and I are going shopping for a *complete* outfit - clothes, accessories, the works. I remember browsing the baby and toddler girl clothes (SO cute) and buying like a maniac with a bottomless pit of money. I have learned over the past couple of years that it is futile to try and buy a single piece of clothing for these girls unless they are within arm's reach to approve the purchase. I got tired of taking things back for exchange/refund, so now their birthday gift is a shop-day with mom. Everyone is happy that way - they get what they want (clothes it wouldn't occur to me to buy) and I get what I want (a beautiful day with my daughter). No more unwanted clothes relegated to the back of the closet never to be worn.

Anyway, back to Miss 15....Sami and I have been through a lot in the past 6 months and although I will probably never know all the motivating factors behind her behavior and personal choices, we have managed to talk it through honestly, work on some compromises, and set reasonable expectations. About a month ago, she woke up one day and was more balanced, starting participating more in the family, and conducted herself in the mature manner I have so missed. She reached a turning point somewhere between Thanksgiving and 15.

So what is it about 15? I don't know, and I guess in the whole scheme of things the "what" isn't really important. Something clicked for her and she is showing more willingness to be responsible and accountable. She actually wants to go to school, she wants to get a job, she wants to keep her room picked up, and most importantly right now, she wants to stay away from and out of trouble! She'll be clear of her court sanctions on February 25, and on that day I'm going to take her to get her Learner's Permit and enroll her in driving classes - she's on the path to proving I can trust her and she's working hard to overcome her missteps (you'll notice I *never* say mistakes).

If this is what growing up is, then I can let it happen and it really will be okay. Well, it will be okay until she actually gets in the driver's seat of my car!

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