Chirp. Yeah, I know. It’s been a while. Dare I say I have nothing to say? Maybe it’s that. Or it’s summer. School being over for the summer has been a relief. A difficult year for my little Junior. I think she has a crumpled list of crappy teenaged behavior that drives a parent crazy/mad/worried tucked away in her Gucci knock-off purse and has been checking each item off the list. Little bee stings that built up over time become an allergy. Yes, that’s it. I think I’m allergic to teenagers.
And so I breathe, fork over more money, breathe again, drink a glass of wine like all the parents of teenagers who have gone before me. I keep telling myself I’m doing the best job I can, even when I know there are logical decisions I could be making that I’m not.
This week has been a good example. We decided that a good cure for the toxic year might be some time away from home. We found an art school in the Dominican Republic that looked to fit the bill. It would enhance her Spanish, introduce her to different kids and potentially help her discover a new talent and start a portfolio.
It could be the salve for a difficult year, one that seemed to compound her ongoing notion of herself as an “unlucky person.” Even before she left though, she was having trepidations which I found frustrating. How do you tell a teenager to have an open mind? It is the very antithesis of a teenager to have an open mind.
“If you can relax, you may have a really great time,” I insisted. “You’ll challenge yourself, meet people you would never normally meet, discover things about yourself that you wouldn’t have discovered. See it as an adventure.”
But the texts started the moment she arrived. And the sobbing phone calls (I’m too scared to look at the bill). Â No one her age. Everyone spoke Spanish. Her class was in Spanish and was way too advanced. It’s difficult to talk about embracing life over a text, though I tried. She would have none of it. Insisted on coming home early. I held out for a week, hoping that time would appease the situation. It did not. And so she is coming home early.
I was beating myself up for giving in. It would have been easy to say no. But I realized that she doesn’t need challenge right now. She needs her mom. She needs to be home to lick the wounds of her hellish year and regroup.
Well, that’s my justification anyway. There is no right way. All I can do is follow my gut, even when my head screams at me to make her tough it out. Like all parents, I’m justing winging here. And trust me, I am my own worst judge.
The silver lining in all of this is how happy I know she will be when she sees me at the airport. How happy she will be to be home. It won’t last, but I will savor that few minutes of seeing my little girl who’s been hiding in big girl clothes.