“Can you send Skippy upstairs? I have to have my face camera on for Government and I want them to see him,” my 17-year-old daughter texts me from her makeshift classroom in her bedroom. I lure the dog with a Milkbone up the stairs and he happily jumps into his awaiting girl’s arms, eats his treat and settles down comfortably in her lap.
She smiles and signals for me to shut the door on my way out so he doesn’t follow me back down. As I turn to leave, I hear her laughing as she introduces our 4-legged baby to her new classmates.
My daughter is doing her senior year from home
My heart is happy. It’s the third day of her senior year, a year we chose for her to start virtually because of her underlying health concerns. There were many tears, from us both, making this decision; so hearing her laughter now fills my soul with hope.
Twenty minutes later she comes running downstairs, Skip following close behind. “I’m making a cup of coffee before 4th period starts,” she says when she sees me staring at her. She does the happy little dance we both do when we are about to eat or drink something we really want. She takes a sip of her hot coffee and lets out a delighted sigh.
“Wow,” I exclaim.“ This online platform is not so bad huh? You are really starting to like it,” I say both as a statement and question. “I like the freedom, being able to drink coffee, wear what I want, be with the dogs. And I realized that I don’t really like dealing with people,” she says. joking and yet seriously.
“I have good time management skills so yeah, this works. It is preparing me for college I guess,” she says as if she just thought of it not seeming to remember that was one of the points I tried to make when we were discussing this virtual option a month ago. I let it go. The fact is, she is happy… or at least has come to terms with this new way of doing things, and that is all that really matters.
I would never have believed that I would be okay with this
If you had told me a week ago, that we would be at this place of acceptance and, dare I say, even joy, I would have laughed in your face. It was too hard to see any silver lining when she was so sad. The anxiety in our home was high, for us both.
Every conversation seemed to end in a fight with my poor sweet girl unable to see past her fears, disappointments, and worries. Perhaps she just needed time to mourn her old ideas and expectations as to how this time of her life was supposed to be before she could reluctantly accept her NEW NORM?
I am not naïve, I know there will be many hard days ahead of us. Days when she misses being face to face with the teachers she has come to know and love. There will be days when she will feel isolated as if all her friends are moving ahead without her. Those will be the days when she will try to push me away and I will need to remind myself to not take it personally.
Hopefully, I will come up with new ways to connect with her and remind her that while it may be hard to imagine, this is but a mere moment in time and things will not always be this way.
Lunch has been a great time for us to connect
She comes downstairs again announcing that it’s lunch time. Together we sit at the kitchen island as she eats her bagel egg sandwich and tells me about her day so far. “So, she is going to have us do a Mind Map to help us get thinking about what we might want our art concentration to be about,” she excitedly rattles on between bites.
I know this is not the way she envisioned the beginning of her senior year to be, but I must admit, having this extra time with her before she is off to college next year is nice.
As she starts to clean up so she can head upstairs for 6th period, I bend down and kiss the top of her head. “What’s that for,” she says surprised. “I like sitting at the lunch table with you,” I say shyly, waiting for her to roll her eyes at how corny that was. But instead she gives me hug. “I like it too,” she says softly and then picks the dog back up and heads up to her lair.
She is home and she is safe
I pour another cup of coffee and do a little happy dance before I take a sip! I am not naïve; I know there will be many hard days ahead of us. But there will also be conversations at our kitchen island lunch table. It is most definitely not the year she imagined, but she is HOME, she is SAFE, and I plan on appreciating every minute of this extra together time that I have been blessed to get!
More to Read:
Stop Yelling at the Teens, Just Stop A surprising number of adults are behaving badly when they interact with teens who are just doing their jobs.
I Always Want to Be With My Kids and I’m Done Apologizing for It Writer Katie Smith talks about her devotion to her three teens and why she would rather be with them than anywhere else.