When Your Smalls Grow Up…

“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”  ~Anne Frank

I’m guessing you’ve noticed a few changes around here at Small Potatoes. We’ve grown up a little bit since we started here on the web, and it was time for change. I embraced the process. I knew things would be bright and cheerful and happy when it was all finished. And it is.

But there has been a different kind of change in my world and I’m not sure I’m as willing to give in to the process. My oldest small is growing up. I am trying to embrace it the way I embrace most change, but this one is different.  She’s my wee bubba. Granted, she has always been an old soul…a quiet maturity that came right along with her earthly body. But she has always been my little girl. I think she always will be in my mind. Which means watching her experience future milestones like college, relationships, and children of her own is NOT going to ever be easy. I think I may be digging my heels in for a whole lot of years. Sigh.

Tell me, experienced mamas…does it get any easier? Ever?

She graduated from high school last month and I think that’s what has thrown me. She’s only 17 and I guess I had it in my mind that a kid doesn’t graduate until she’s 18!About a year ago, when Small Potatoes was just starting out on its journey, I blogged about Emily and her love of horses. And here she is now. All graduated and setting out in the big world herself. I had the opportunity to make her senior photos for her, and let me tell you…the girl is a joy to photograph. Especially when she brings along her “bestie” Jessie Mare. Oh my, we had fun. And we totally trashed the dress!

It started out innocently enough…

After all, what’s the harm in just standing by the barn in your prom dress? But when you get two girls and a camera together with a horse and the girl with the camera is me… well, pretty soon you’re sitting in the barn AND on the horse in your prom dress!

As I look at these photographs, I see a beautiful woman. Strong, courageous and ready. And I had a little something to do with that. This gives me courage and strength to embrace this change. Am I ready for it? I’m pretty sure I’m not. But then I look at this one, and I see my little girl again…

She may be growing up, but she’s still a little girl. My little girl. The one with the old soul and the infectious happy grin. The girl who’s never been afraid of getting her hands dirty.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Arlee, Small Potatoes

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24 thoughts on “When Your Smalls Grow Up…

  1. Gorgeous photos – worth trashing the dress for.
    My 17 year old baby just graduated from high school too – and he is going to university in Ontario (we are on vancouver Island). I so get the happy-to-see-them-making-their-own-lives, sad-that-they-aren’t-my-wee-ones-anymore feeling. I don’t feel quite ready to have all grown up children.

    • Sandi! It’s nice to have company in this! Emily was actually born on the island! We didn’t move from there til she was nearly in the 3rd grade! I miss it out there. How’s the weather today? Lol!

  2. Gorgeous photos of a beautiful girl. Congrats on your accomplishment of raising such a child — one you know is ready to head out on her own. I went through this last year with my oldest son. It does get easier, not much, but little bit by little bit.

  3. Oh my goodness Arlee…i type this with goosebumps…I feel your heart ache. I’m a mess now looking at your baby, I have no idea how Im going to cope with my smalls graduating. .. xx hugs to you…you brave Mama..

  4. My little ones are 2 and 19 months, and already I’m anxious about the day I will turn around and realize they are all grown up. I know it will be in a blink of an eye.

    Beautiful pictures. And what a beautiful relationship you obviously have with your daughter.

  5. Exquisite photos of a beautiful girl, stunning dress and gorgeous horse. You capture the mood of it all so perfectly in your magnificent, heartfelt photographs. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Amazing photos of your beautiful girl. My son is only 13 and to me it seems to be happening way to fast. I still remember when he was a toddler. I congratulate you on your beautiful daughter. I wonder if any mother is fully prepared for the changes that happen once our children become young adults. I hope that one day I will be somewhat prepared for that change.

  7. Beautiful, Arlee. I have goosebumps and every hair on my head is standing up. It’s so bitter-sweet isn’t it? Watching them grow up and rooting them on along the way, and at the same time, wanting to stop it all from happening, and to back up to when they were little again. I can’t imagine that they’ll be gone one day. I want to have them here with me forever.
    Your photos (as always) are stunning! Once can certainly see the love that those two have for each other.

    • Thank you so much for your meaningful comments, Jackie. So insightful…you said it exactly! We root for them, but at the same time, we want to stop it! YES!! Sigh. It’s a good thing I have 5 more left, or I’d be a wreck!

  8. So beautiful and it’s wonderful to see how ready she is to go out there, with your enthusiasm for everything she does it’ll be amazing! Love how that dress is not too precious to do some seriously idyllic horse riding pictures in – those photos speak volumes, I’m only a little envious! Congrats 🙂

  9. Hi
    I was just browsing and came across this post on your blog. My son married 6 months ago and it is so lovely to hear someone like yourself, sharing their thoughts and that bit of pain that goes with your child growing up. On the wedding day my emotions were so strange, thrilled that he had matured and grown to be a fine young man and then heart hurt that he would be gone! I love the photos, you have captured a glow in your daughter that I think comes from being adored! Your blog and posts are such an inspiration, I love getting lost in them!
    Thank you for sharing your life!
    Sue

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