Daughter Turns 17 Years Old Today

The Times photo by Betsy Reason
Betsy Reason’s daughter, Addie, pictured before Noblesville High School’s Prom over the weekend, turns 17 years old today.
Photo courtesy of NHS junior Tyler Cowan
Betsy Reason’s daughter, Addie, turns 17 years old today.

Today, our daughter, Addie, turns 17.

It doesn’t seem possible that she’s already a Noblesville High School junior with only one more year of school until she graduates.

The years have flown by.

It seems like yesterday that I was holding her tightly in my arms. We celebrated birthdays with Happy Feet, Tinker Bell, Dora, Little Mermaid and Hello Kitty themes in the backyard. Then, all of a sudden, it was her first day in kindergarten at North Elementary, carrying her giant powder-blue Tinker Bell backpack and dressed in a pink striped and flowered dress with white sandals and pink hair bows.

I chuckle as I look back at an elementary school resume that she created about herself. One of the highlights that she included was earning a “bachelor’s degree” from North Elementary. “I got an award for history in unit of study. I was learning about Benjamin Harrison,” she wrote. Her resume also included a “Native Nation Degree” from Stony Creek Elementary. “I went two years there. I got a lot of awards, the second year I got a writing award.”

And that was true. She did earn a writing award in first grade and was invited to represent her class in the Hamilton County Reading Council’s Youth Author’s Conference.

We spent first and second grade at Stony Creek Elementary, with Mrs. Duvall and Mrs. Johnson, then returned to North Elementary for third grade, due to often redistricting.

In fourth grade, our daughter, who had Mrs. Jimenez for third and fourth grades, was among 11 selected from 86 fourth-graders who auditioned to be a part of the North hand-chimes choir, directed by Janene Krent. In fifth grade, Addie had teacher David Kimmel, who later won the District’s Teacher of the Year and who co-taught with Melissa Jones, a Learning Lab class of 49 students, and they did all kinds of cool out-of-the-box learning. Plus, she gained broadcast experience as a news anchor and videographer for North’s daily morning news broadcast.

One of our favorite birthday parties was when she turned 8, and we had a “Rock Star” party, inviting her friends to dress like rock stars and sing karaoke in the backyard.

After that year, her birthday parties moved to other venues, like bowling centers and the former Cicero Fun Factory, and Embassy Suites Hotel in Noblesville. Her Sweet 16 party was in a beautiful little barn at our friends’ private venue.

Those of you who know our family may have followed our daughter in her more than a dozen local theater productions, including most recently in NHS’s fall musical, “Chicago: Teen Edition.” Through the years, we’ve watched her perform as Annie in Noblesville East Middle School’s musical, “Annie Jr.,” and as Jane in “Mary Poppins Jr.,” also at NEMS, and in most of The Belfry Theatre Apprentice Players’ summer youth musicals.

Or you might have watched her perform Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight,” The Carpenters’ “Superstar” or The National Anthem during Legacy Keepers Music’s String Time on the Square on a summer Saturday night. And most recently, she sang a solo at the NHS Rooftop Coffee House and a couple of songs at the NHS Alumni Banquet at the high school.

She has taken piano lessons and sang in NEMS Vocal Revolution show choir. She has sold trash bags for NEMS band where she played the clarinet, and sold record numbers of pancake breakfast tickets (with mom’s help) for the Boys & Girls Club’s winter youth basketball league.

She was an Indiana Statehouse page for both former Sen. Victoria Spartz and former State Rep. Kathy Kreag Richardson Williams.

The years have flown by as her “resume” has grown. This year, our daughter is in her sixth year as a youth volunteer at Conner Prairie, where she is a spinning captain for the Indiana State Fair Sheep to Shawl competition, a Youth Agriculture Captain for the animal barn and a pottery apprentice in Prairietown.

She’s in her ninth year as a Hamilton County 4-H’er, and is participating this summer in the 4-H Queen Pageant.

She auditioned and was selected to be a member of her school’s NHS Singers show choir, and she and a young man sang a lead duet as the featured couple during every show choir competition this season. In March, she traveled with choir director John Neubauer’s fabulous student trip to New York City, where they watched four Broadway musicals. This spring, she applied for and was chosen as an officer of her school’s thespian troupe.

She has also received all kinds of opportunities and has met people from all walks of life, being that she has tagged along with her mom on many interviews, all kinds of events and public meetings.

While she’s done a lot, I also feel there are so many things on our lists to do that we haven’t gotten to yet. It was only a couple of years ago that she walked on her first Florida beach and visited for the first time Walt Disney World, a magical place where many kids go when they’re young.

And it already feels like there is so little time. We only have one more school year with her at home, and then she heads to college or off into the world and flies on her own.

While she took driver education classes a couple of summers ago and gained driving experience at the driver education school last summer, she hasn’t been in any hurry to drive or get her driver’s license, which she plans on doing this summer.

Over the weekend, she attended her high school prom at the Murat Egyptian Room with a date and a group of friends, and they had so much fun.

While it’s tough being a parent of a teenager who is at that age of wanting to experience freedom and make her own choices, she is also at the age when she still needs her mom, thankfully more often than not. (Although she does think that all of Mom’s clothes are out of style.)

While our summer calendar is already filling up with activities, we look forward to a summer break and hearing the wonderful sounds of our daughter’s laughter in the house after the stress has gone from schoolwork.

Our teenage daughter, who celebrates her 17th birthday today, is such a blessing to our family. We feel so lucky and so blessed every day to have her.

-Betsy Reason writes about people, places and things in Hamilton County. Contact The Times Editor Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.