Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Growing Up Military & Last Day of 4th Grade Thoughts

Yesterday was Dannika's last day of school...her last day as a 4th grader. Fifth grade feels so much more grown up than 4th grade, and realizing that she'll be 12-13 years old when we PCS from Yuma is so beyond my wildest thoughts. How did my sweet bald baby (that we swore would never grow hair) turn into an almost 10 year old?!

She seriously had NO hair until she was literally 4 years old.
The moment I became a mother, all the "seasoned" parents would cock their head to side, sigh a big sigh, longingly smile, and say, "they grow up so fast, enjoy every moment". It's not that I didn't believe them, but I honestly didn't realize just how fast it would happen. I had Dannika when I was 25 years old. In today's standards, that's actually pretty young. More women are opting to wait to have children to establish careers, buy homes, etc. these days.

Military families tend to be really young. Military life is lonely without a partner to share it with. Because of that, in my experience, I have noticed that marriage and families happen faster than my civilian counterparts (generally speaking).

I thought I was so mature and ahead of my peers at 25 years old, but looking back now, I realize I had no clue what I was doing...or who I was. I was naive (and didn't realize it), and I had a baby to keep alive. Hell...I could barely keep myself alive some days. Praise the Lord for daycare. Ms. Kathi (Dannika's daycare provider) basically made sure Dannika wouldn't end up TOO messed up during that time. I am sure of it. After all, she spent 10-12 hours a day at Ms. Kathi's daycare while I served in the Marines.

I often refer to Dannika as my "Marine life sidekick". She's been through it all with me from the very beginning. When Nick deployed for the first time to Afghanistan, she was only 6 months old. It was just her and me. Nick's first deployment to Afghanistan was rough for me.

He subsequently deployed to Afghanistan one more time when she was 2. Then, when she was 3 years old, Nick got orders to Boston. I was still active duty. and waiting to be discharged. Once again, her and I were solo together without Nick for a year (in Orange County). We've been through a lot together as a mother/daughter duo. I always have a special place in my heart just for Dannika.

I have all sorts of emotions this week. She's starting to enter puberty (insert cry face emoji here), and it scares the ever living hell out of me. I was such an awful preteen, teenager, and adolescent, and I am praying that she is nothing like I was. Someone once told me that motherhood isn't for the faint of heart. I might have laughed to myself when I heard that at first, but as my kids get older and gain more individuality, I am realizing just how true that statement is. I struggle some days with putting ALL my faith in God. I am a control freak by nature, and it's really hard for me to completely surrender to anything, let alone faith. But of course, when motherhood gets really tough, I really have no choice but to surrender. So with we 5th grade...

Dannika started the school year off in College Station, TX. Then we moved here to Yuma, AZ, and enrolled her into the public school that was zoned for our neighborhood. We had come from such an amazing (and high performing) school district that when we came here, she was bored. I'll have to do a blog post in the future about moving around and switching school districts. We looked into other options for her to make sure she would be challenged academically, and found Southwestern Christian School. It has been an amazing fit for her academically, and most importantly, spiritually.

Dream big, sweet girl.

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