Due to the unintentionally long blogging break I took last year, something very important slipped under the radar and was never published. So today, in honor of a very special person’s (now) 14th birthday, I’m sharing the post I meant to share this time last year. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled (aka much more current) programming next week.
There is a teenager living in our house now. I know everyone says it, but I just can’t believe how quickly we got here. I can still remember shortly after Lexie was born, counting up the years to see what age I’d be when Lexie hit important milestones. It delighted me more than it probably should have to discover that when she turned 13, I’d be 31. (Reverse ages!) And now, here we are. I am just as eager for her to experience this stage of life as I am hesitant. Eager, because these will be some of the most fun, free years of her life and I’m excited to see what she’ll do with them, where she’ll go, who she’ll become. But hesitant, too, because I’m just not ready for this to be over. Motherhood seems so long in the beginning and so short at the end. (Insert tearful emoji.) But before I lose myself in nostalgia, let’s take it back just one year so I can show you how we celebrated this momentous occasion.
First off, I should let you know I’m not a great party planner. I don’t even bother checking out Pinterest for party ideas because I know I’ll never do any of them. I accept this about myself, and thankfully Lexie does, too, so when we were throwing around ideas for her 13th birthday, she knew to keep her expectations low. We ultimately settled on a movie-themed party with a side of shopping, perfect for the teenager who no longer wants her mom hanging around at her parties AND the mom who wouldn’t know what to do even if she were expected to be there. :)
Even though party planning isn’t my forte, I do know how to go to a party store and buy pre-made decorations, fill bags with candy, blow up balloons, order pizzas, and build a cake out of donuts (did I mention I don’t bake either?), so when everyone showed up at our house before catching the bus to Westfield, it at least looked like we knew how to throw a pretty decent 13th birthday party. She had invited five of her closest friends from school. Looking at these pictures a year later, Lexie is the only one of the group who still lives here, and in just over a week, she’ll be gone, too! We knew getting into this expat thing that our friendships would come and go, but man, that’s some kind of turnover! I’m just grateful that even though her gang has changed every year we’ve been here, she’s always had a strong group of friends (from literally all over the world) to keep her company.
Her 13th birthday party went off beautifully – a little shopping, an early evening showing of Pitch Perfect 2, and then pizza and donuts at our place afterwards. I felt pretty proud (despite my lack of skills) at how well we welcomed Lexie into her teenage years. Today, we are one year into this whole teenage thing and while it’s definitely come with a whole new set of challenges, so far we’re all surviving. :) This year, much to my relief (and excitement!!), Lexie chose a visit to the Harry Potter Studios in Watford in lieu of a party. We went a few weeks ago since today is actually moving day! (Moving out of our flat day, anyway…official leaving London day is next week!) This is the third time we’ve moved on or just a few days shy of Lexie’s birthday. Poor kid, always getting overshadowed by our transient lifestyle. She’s always so easy-going about it, though, which makes me so proud. We’ll celebrate tonight with cake and Vietnamese food (her fav) because even though we’re about to move to Asia, you can never have too many spring rolls and noodles.
While we’re doing the whole proud mom thing – on Friday, Lexie will perform as the lead in her school play. This is her third and last performance at this school. Her first year she played Violet Beauregarde in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and last year she was the narrator (among other parts) in a student-written play of dark fairy tales. This time she’s playing the role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors. (Seriously, how awesome is that?) Since we’re taking Lexie out of school a week before the end of term so we can go back to the States before moving on to Singapore, this will be her last full week at school. Closing out three years of middle school with a theater performance sounds like a pretty good way to end things, I think!