Monday, June 29, 2015

Presenting My Girls...Part 1

I meant to follow my February post about the boys with some timely posts about my girls.  I do still have four fabulous daughters, and I'm finally taking the time to brag about them.  This post will be about the high schoolers, followed quickly (I hope) with another about the younger two.

#1 is nearly 17, and in many ways she is ready for adulthood.  She found herself a job last fall, which she worked through the school year and continues this summer.  She has been a great asset at Mooyah's and is frequently scheduled for the busiest shifts.  But she knows a minimum-wage job at a burger joint is only a stepping stone, and she is working to develop a network that will help her discover and develop her passions.  Last week she attended the Illuminate Women's Summit, attended by businesswomen from around Utah, and she made quite a few contacts and met a few potential mentors.

It would be really great if she also found a driver's ed mentor (ie. instructor), because two years after receiving her learner's permit (which she has had to renew), she is an adept, unlicensed driver.  The problem is her pesky high school and friends who keep her so engaged in other, more-interesting activities, that driver's ed class takes a back seat.  (Ha!)  Luckily, she earns school credit for her online PE course by riding her bike to work and back, and her great friends don't seem to mind driving her most places because she brings the party with her.

We are grateful that #1 has surrounded herself with good people.  It was a little strange to send her off to prom this past spring.  How did our baby get old enough to make flirty faces with a boy?!  I do think that her friends have brought out an even happier version of the girl we already loved.  She is a lot of fun with her siblings, as a result, too.  She wouldn't want them tagging along, of course, but she likes to joke with them and hug them and do nice things for them on those rare occasions when she is home and not sleeping.

#1 as Pozzo in "Waiting for Godot".
PHS Fall 2014 production.
Poster sketch by #1
As she enters her senior year of high school, we expect that #1 will continue to develop her love for acting, choir, and learning.  In her own time, she is training her skill in calligraphy and graphic design, and has completed several hand-drawn posters and other projects for those who recognize her gift.  She hopes to spend some of her class time as an intern at a local marketing firm, and has spent many hours putting together a resume.  She is keeping her options open with regards to life after high school, with plans to maybe travel, maybe attend college before serving an LDS mission (she would jump at the chance to attend BYU-Hawaii), or maybe pursue some business opportunities.  All of those options are within reach, and we keep telling her that no life path is set forever.  Just figure out what you want to do for the next three to five to ten years, and then feel free to reevaluate.

Fortunately for #2, the next three years are pretty easy to figure out.  As she enters her sophomore year, she is looking forward to more fun with choir and new fun with the school's audition D-Fusion dance team.  (It's essentially the junior varsity version of dance team.)

Left: #2 and #1 following their PHS Spring 2015 Choir Concert.  #2 was in Bella Voce women's choir; #1 was in co-ed Concert Choir.
Right: #2 following the PHS Spring 2015 Dance Concert.

These sisters ran a formal dress rental business last year, which they have now decided to liquidate.  But that business was a springboard to other opportunities.  #2 has spent several months developing her YouTube channel, which is all about makeup advice and instruction.  It's pretty great to be able to ask my 15-yr-old what concealer I should get, and she considers my price point, skin tone, and purpose before making a recommendation.  Prom was a good day for her, too, as it meant that she got to help her sister and friends get made up for the dance.

People don't just ask her for makeup advice, though.  #2 is probably the best babysitter around.  Children love her, she has unending patience and good disciplining techniques, and she strives to improve the homes of the parents who hire her--ie. she'll have the kids picking up while she cleans the kitchen.  (I wish I could have hired her to babysit herself ten years ago!)  Last school year, at the ripe age of 14, she took on a weekly babysitting job for four young children, which has turned into a daily job this summer.  Even when she's not with the children, helping them through homework and housework and playing and hugging, she is home baking their favorite treats and telling me all about how difficult one child was today, or how cute another is every day.  She is a good little mother for six hours each day, and she always looks forward to the next.  Next summer, when she has her driver's license, she can be a nanny in the full sense of the job, and she will rock it!
Spending time with two of her charges at their mother's recent wedding.

Bri putting her life on the line with #2.
Speaking of driving, #2's learner's permit is now the bane of my existence.  She will quickly finish any chore or accept any errand if only we will take her out on the road.  Unfortunately for me--and according to her--she is only a bad driver when I'm in the passenger seat.  Two nights ago, our family had the rare opportunity to eat with all seven of us at home, and the girls all let me know (including the two who don't drive!) how stressful it is to have me as the chaperoning driver.  Luckily for #2, her adopted aunt Bri and her real uncle Jacob and biological dad Kent and a host of other adults are willing to sit back and enjoy the ride with her at the wheel.  I guess they just don't care for their own safety as much as I like mine.

#2 is generous and loving and funny and a good friend to others.  I'm pretty sure she reached adulthood a year ago, so it's too bad that she has to wait three more years to have that legally recognized.  She talks about being emancipated and getting her own place (maybe with a roommate).  If she can learn to manage a budget and save some of her earnings, she'll do just fine on her own.  I expect, though, that being on her own will mean living with a family as their full-time nanny and traveling with them to interesting places around the globe.
When #2 ordered pizza asking herself to prom.  (She said no.)
A couple months ago, Kent led a Family Home Evening discussion about the expenses of adulthood.  We broke down for the children the costs of housing, transportation, eating, and socializing.  They saw that survival is possible on minimum wage, but education and quality of life really aren't.  We wrapped up the lesson by stating our clear expectation that by September 1 following their 18th birthday, each of our children will be out of the house and supporting her-or-himself.  So far, the first two don't seem to want to wait that long, so we will enjoy every minute of the remainder of their childhoods as they become adults that we like and love and respect.  We love these girls!
Cleaning the cheesecake off parents' plates after the
PHS Choirs Radio Show and dinner, December 2014