Friday, November 16, 2018

eighteen

Yesterday our Indigo had her eighteenth birthday and this afternoon, at 5.15pm, she'll put her pen down on her last exam and officially finish her life as a school girl forever.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how when most people consider having babies, they think about having babies and possibly toddlers, but never about having grown up kids.



For me so much of it was about the chubby little babies, about breast feeding, about wooden toys and cloth nappies, and about parenting close to nature in a way that felt wild and free. I'm sure I had visions of picnics in the sunshine where babies napped on blankets and beautiful scenes where toddlers ran through meadows of wild flowers with butterflies flying all about them.

I remember a phone call from Bren's mum Rene not long before Indi was born urging us to make a list of practical things a baby would need and to start crossing them off. Spurred into action we rode our bikes to some local op shops and bought bags full of baby clothes. Then we spent the next few weeks dying and appliquéing. 

Eventually she gave up and took us and our list shopping for nappies and buckets and a bath herself. I can still remember standing in the queue to pay with an enormous belly but still unable to imagine actually using these things. At that stage it was still all about the birth. It was hard to imagine the baby.

Let alone the teenager. 


And then there was a baby Indigo. And eight months after she was born we moved to the country to give her that wild and free childhood. We grew our own veggies, we kept chickens and goats and rabbits and alpacas, we made a circle of friends with children the same age, and when she was five she started school.

It's funny to think of how different those first few years of school are to the last.

On Indi's first day of school we knew the teacher and her family well, we knew almost every child in her class and after she said goodbye and went into the classroom, we spent the rest of the morning with the other parents celebrating and commiserating. We couldn't believe how big they were, we were scared they wouldn't be able to undo the clasps on their lunch boxes, find their ways back to class after recess, or make it to the toilet in time.


On her first day at high school,

and then her first day at her second high school, we dropped her off without knowing the names of her teachers, or many of the kids in her class, or how she got to be so big and independent.


Which brings us to today. To an 18 year old, adult, almost no longer school girl.

Even though the hours and the days and the months and the years and sometimes the minutes felt so long, I still can't quite work out how we got here. How Bren and I raised a whole adult. An intelligent, creative, sensitive, empathetic person.

Last night on the phone one of my sisters asked me if I had gotten over the drama of Indi's birth yet. If I had come to terms with the planned home water birth that ended up as an emergency cesarean? Oh gosh yes, I told her, Indi is so full of life, she's so magical and interesting and so full of potential. It's hard to imagine her not being here and how she got here seems inconsequential.

Late last night lying in bed with my eyes closed I thought about those words I'd spoken and I let the feelings they brought up swirl around me and I realised that I've come full circle. 18+ years ago I could hardly imagine the baby and here I am now watching this incredible grown person. She feels bigger than what we've given her and so very ready for what's to come. I have to think really hard to remember that fat squishy baby.



In the Hebrew language the word life or alive chai  is made of two letters - a chet and a yud. In Hebrew each letter is given a numerological value, in this case the chet is 8 and the yud is 10, together they make 18.

The more I think about that, the more I love it.

You're 18 Indi!! You're alive!! We wish for you the greatest adventures. We hope you meet incredible people and make life-long friends. We hope you live a life filled with creativity and music and passion and fun and flowers. We hope you travel the world and we hope that you come home to visit. We hope that you never stop learning and that you get lots of opportunities to teach. We hope that when you're knocked down you remember how strong you are and that you can deal with it. We hope that you remember how great it makes you feel to put your feelings into songs.

And we hope that wherever you are in the world, whatever you're doing, that you know how cherished and adored you are and how very proud of you we feel.

And with that it's time to sign off and drive you to school for what might just be the very last time.

Happy, happiest birthday Indigo apple!! Let the festivities begin!!

Love xx


19 comments:

  1. Awww, lady, now you've made me cry! Congrats on your lovely adult. May your relationship grow and blossom.
    I've got a 4 year old . I can't image her grown. I want all these things for her but want to breath in the whole journey.

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  2. Happy Birthday to Indi xx The years have flown!!

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  3. Can't quite believe she is that old - Iv'e been following your blog since you started and she was a young girl - How time flies. Best wishes for her exciting future x

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  4. The days are long but the years are short.
    As my children reached adulthood I totally understood that saying.
    It's so exciting but also scary and challenging to let go. To trust that you have done enough, equipped them with the skills or knowledge to learn the skills they need.
    Does Indi have any plans for the future?
    Cheers Kate.

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    1. She hopes to defer uni and go traveling next year and I also feel excited, scared and challenged. Such a momentous time. xx

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  5. Such an amazing thing to get a child through to the end of high school. We have 3 years before my first is there and honestly I can't even believe that. Time just flies by so quickly. Congrats to you both for raising such a beautiful young lady.

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  6. It's possibly the sweetest thing, watching them grow 😍 Happy Birthday to your bright, interesting, thoughtful girl

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  7. Happy Birthday! Your words brought tears to my eyes, my daughter is 16 and I also only thought about the baby and toddler, giving no thought to the fact she’s now nearly an adult with strong opinions and dreams of her own. I’ve been reading your blog for so long I feel like I’ve also watched your beautiful Indi grow up. Sarah

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  8. Just magical following your kids and those last years before 18! My daughter turned 18 this year, a beautiful age, full of potential!

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  9. I can’t believe it! She’s a beautiful soul. x

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  10. Beautiful photos and such a lovely post. I totally get what you mean, I have a 23,21&16 year old and it continues to amaze me that my babies are that old. No one ever tells you when you are having a baby that they will grow quicker than you can believe into amazing adults, but still be your baby no matter what 💕

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  11. beautiful lady, such a lovely family you have...and such lovely words ;) x

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  12. Congratulations to Indie and your whole family in Foxslane. I can relate to everything your wrote about having babies and in a blink of an eye you have a wonderful adult on your side nevertheless it took you 18 years of love and care and worries and wonder to get there. I want to fall in with all the amazing wishes you have for her. Our children are 38 and 36 years old and there are 3 grandchildren between them but we still say :" The kids phoned or the kids will come next weekend" ;-))
    Take good care and best wishes from Bavaria

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  13. A very Happy Birthday to your beautiful girl and congratulations to you all! Lots and lots of love, Lucy xxxx

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  14. מזל טוב! for you and your birthday-girl. So lovely words. Thank you. Maren

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  15. I am fighting back the tears reading your post. I've been following your blog for quite a while and can't quite believe that Indi is eighteen. She is beautiful and those pictures of her among those peachy roses are truly stunning. Happy birthday sweet girl.

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  16. I have a little dust in my eye....

    I too am amazed at the transitions that occur in childhood. My eldest is in the 'tween' stage and I'm often astounded by his budding maturity and insight.

    Isn't watching these young people gorw, develop and bloom just so awe inspiring?

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family. Happy Birthday Indi, may you always have the strength to follow the beat of your own drum and follow your hearts desires throughout your adult life.

    xx

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  17. What beautiful things you say about your lovely daughter. I am blessed with two daughters and often reflect on their journey through life, and my part in it. Did I do the right things and make the right choices for them? Did I give them enough space to grow and develop the way that made them happy?

    I've just come from my 43 years old daughter's house where I watched her helping her 11 year old daughter with her homework, being very kind and patient and explaining things in different ways until she fully understood. I said to her "You do that so well," to which she replied "I had the best teacher, Mum." I started racking my brains trying to remember who had taught her at school, when she put her arms round my neck and said "It was you!" I've come home realising that all the things I prayed she would be, are all the things she is.

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  18. Such beautiful words. She really does look like you but she can now grow into her own adult person with all the things she has learnt. Jo xx

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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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