Senior Year

This beautiful girl started her Senior year of high school last week.

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She was very patient while I took several photos of her before she drove herself to school for the first time ever, oh my heart!

Mom!  Stoooop!  I’m gonna be late!

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So, I stopped.

For a minute.

Then I chased her down the driveway.

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And, so, it begins.  My baby girl’s Senior year of high school.  So many milestones coming up this year, and I want her to enjoy every single minute.  I’ll try not to let her see me sobbing in the corner.

Smith invasion 2016

Steve’s mother and two of his sisters rented a house in Niantic for a week in late August, and we spent that week running back and forth between that house and ours.  The view from the top deck of the Niantic house was incredible.

We went to Newport, and took a boat tour of the area.  It was great to see a couple of lighthouses and the mansions from the oceanside angle.  Also, it was just a really pretty day and a great time to be on the water.

We loved Newport!

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We shopped at Old Mistick Village where, as always, we were greeted by ducks.

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This one was my favorite:

We shopped for back-to-school, we kayaked, grilled out, went to the casino, got ice-cream, argued and laughed.

Some of us got a little older.

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Just Smile, Take Two

Since the first moment we paid the down payment and applied braces to Hayden’s teeth the clock has been ticking toward the moment when we would be able to pay them off and begin the orthodontic process with Anna.  Double payment was out of the question, out of our financial reach, and we simply could not afford to have both girls in braces at the same time.

Steve enjoyed joking with Anna that when the orthodontist removed Hayden’s braces we would have them put the same brackets on Anna’s teeth thus saving a boatload of money.  Anna always laughed at the joke, but, occasionally, she did so with a look of horror on her face as if wondering whether that might be a possibility.

We thought Hayden’s braces would be paid for this coming fall, and we (ok, me, it was me) were eager to get Anna started because it appeared to us, dental professionals that we are, that her teeth would be more involved than Hayden’s, taking longer to complete, and we wanted her process to be finished before any of the major high school milestones.  (She’s going into eighth grade in a few weeks)  So, I called to inquire as to the pay-off date and as to whether or not it was possible to start her now, and simply continue the payments, tack them on to the end of Hayden’s?

The monthly payment was an automatic debit from our checking account, and because we, clearly, don’t spend a ton of time *ahem* balancing our checkbook, we did not realize that Hayden’s braces have been paid off since last December.

Last December.  As in, eight months wasted with no braces on Anna’s teeth.

Although, let me just say here that eight months ago, at the height of the bullying situation, it would probably not have been the best timing to put braces in the poor kid’s mouth.  Everything happens for a reason, and in it’s own time.  I truly believe that, and this is another example.

So, I made an appointment for Anna’s consultation, and to discuss the new financial picture for July 28th, and I promised her that she would not be getting braces that same day like her, apparently still traumatized by the right-this-minute of it, sister.  Steve didn’t even join us for the appointment because we were just checking things out.

As returning patients we received a small discount, the required down payment was somehow much more reasonable, and they had time to get started that morning.  I saw the blood drain from Anna’s face when they said they could start immediately, so I assured her that we didn’t have to, that she could come back another day to have the braces put on, but she smartly decided she didn’t want to deal with the building stress of anticipation for a few days, and bravely chose to get her braces that same day.

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She was a trooper, but she had a severe case of buyer’s remorse after they were on and didn’t want to show them to anyone for a day or so.  Also, she was in much more, and much longer, initial pain than Hayden seemed to be when she first had hers.  But, she soon adjusted to her new look and how to take care of them.

I love her new smile already.

Fifteen to eighteen months.  Here we go.

Our Happy Place

We made a quick trip to Maine this weekend.  The traffic was the worst we have ever seen, the campground was old and dilapidated, and the weather Saturday morning was less than pleasant.

We had a great time anyway.  We set up the tent and left it there reminding ourselves that it didn’t matter that the campground was a dump; we were only sleeping there anyway.

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We went to all the usual places, but decided to eat someplace new.  The Beachfire bar and grille in Ogunquit did not disappoint.

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Couldn’t gamble with breakfast though.  No trip to Maine is complete without The Bagel Basket.

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The weather improved quickly, and we spent a great late morning/early afternoon on the beach until the tide finally kicked us off.

Of course, we went downtown, and to Perkin’s Cove.

We visited with Bear at the Life is Good shop.  Bear is thirteen this year, my kids have patted his head every one of his years.  They are always anxious to stop in and see him.    It will be a sad, sad, day when Bear is no longer a part of our Maine trips.

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And, the sun has set on another year in Maine.  No matter where we go in our lives, York Beach will always be our happiest of places.

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Not a river in Egypt

We’ve been a little lax about preparing for Hayden to go college.

I’d love to blame it on her being our first born, and how new we are at this whole college thing, how we don’t have any idea what we are doing or supposed to be doing, so we have naturally fallen a little behind, but I think it may have something more to do with the fact that she is only SIXTEEN years old and still my BABY.

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Denial. De. Ni. Al.

I mean, it’s not like we haven’t seen it approaching.  She was a junior last year and she did all the junior year milestoney things that juniors do in their junior years: she went to the prom, she took her SATs, she got her braces removed from her teeth.  For the past year we’ve made impromtu stops at various schools; driving around the campuses to check them out, engaging in conversations about whether or not they are located in areas that she can see herself living. We’ve attended college nights and a couple of open houses.  We’ve added terms to our vocabularies.

Common Application.  FASFA.  Admissions Requirements.  Student loans vs. parental responsibility.  Financial aid.  Merit Scholarships.

We’ve added those terms, but, beyond that, we have ignored them, more or less, completely.  Those are things we have to worry about in the upcoming months.  Not this month.  Never this month.

Denial came up and slapped me in the face today.

We’ve had a couple of college visits this week.  Real, actual, college visits with deadline discussions and personal tours where I found myself asking a thousand questions about the schools and the buildings and the programs and the meal plans…when all I was truly needing to know is how they plan to take care of my little girl; how am I ever going to be able to leave her on her own?

This is it.  In twenty-nine days Hayden starts her senior year of high school, and we begin the countdown, the last year of having her home with us, safely under our roof, every night.  I’m simultaneously so excited for her and sad for me (and Steve, and Anna).  I know this is her time to soar, to go out and make her mark on the world, and I truly can’t wait to watch who she becomes, but I am SO NOT READY to let go of her.

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I know we aren’t the first or the only ones to ever go through all of this.  I know it is normal and necessary.  And, I even know we will find ourselves on the other side of it someday, but damn if it doesn’t still suck now.