Angeline is turning 17 next month and she's decided that she wants an old fashioned themed birthday party at our local park...just like she did as a kid. This will likely be the last kiddie birthday party that I ever throw...and I am totally freaking out about it!
Where did the last 17 years go? How did my little baby turn into this beautiful creature who will be leaving me to go to college in just two years?
It is at times like these that I am so grateful to have been able to leave the corporate workforce and be at home with Angeline. While I do work full time from home as a blogger - sometimes much more than I ever did when I had an office job - I am still HERE, still present, still involved in daily conversations and I spend much more quality time with Angeline. Having late lunches together, running errands together, catching up on our favorite television shows after school, chatting about her day - those are things that I was never around for when she was younger because I worked so much!
Being able to take time off of work whenever I need to to pick her up from school when she calls home sick, take her to doctor's appointments, those are all things that my mom helped with before I started working from home. I commuted 30 miles to the next county for seven years, and with only five sick days a year, you can imagine how many times I was actually able to leave work to go pick my daughter up from school when she wasn't feeling well. These last four years have made me realize just how much I was missing out on when I had an office job - and makes me a little jealous of stay at home moms who have always been available 100% to their kids.
The ability to make my own schedule the past few years have been wonderful when it comes to bonding with Angeline. I've been able to take her on trips outside of our annual family vacations, even on a few press trips for my blog!
We went to Europe together last year and that is something I would have never had the time to do when I worked in an office.
I will cherish the memories from that experience for the rest of my life, and I hope that Angeline does as well! We traveled to Europe for the first time together, we saw historical monuments, ate new cuisine and spent two weeks sharing a room, together 24 hours a day...while it wasn't easy (life with teenager is never easy!), it was wonderful!
When I came home from a work trip last weekend, I noticed the Florida Driver's Handbook sitting on the coffee table...which means that Angeline is finally ready to take her driver's test and get her restricted license. In Florida, you have to get your restricted license and drive with an adult in the car for a year before you can get your operator's permit (unless you wait until you are 18).
Between her upcoming birthday party and the whole license thing, I feel like this is the end of an era. The end of childhood. I've suddenly began second-guessing our decision not to have more kids...I can't help but feel a bit of preemptive empty nest syndrome.
Each experience feels like it's going to be the last time we do that particular thing. Every trip I take, I tend to check in more than I ever did before. When I hear her talk about which college she wants to go to, or where she wants to live and work as an adult, I feel a knot in my stomach and that burning, watery sensation begins in my eyes...
Who would have thought that this birthday party would be so emotional?