The Girl Child is 14 and a high school freshman. This is uncharted territory, people. Well, the last 14 years have been, really. Every day leads us somewhere new. I say we’re calf deep in it, because it won’t be knee deep until actual boyfriends and teenage driving are involved. *shudder*
It’s a different world than my teenage world. We communicated with friends by phone or in person, none of this 24/7 texting or Facebooking. She can chat with friends 15 different ways, none of which are easily monitored by me unless I want to constantly spy on her. Which I don’t – unless necessary and then all bets are off. That has happened twice, and may happen again.
High school is also much different – more demanding and thus more stressful. I am pretty sure my parents had no idea what homework I had or when I had tests I should be studying for. I got good grades for the most part, so I guess it didn’t come up. There was no Source where they could check in daily to see my grades or assignments. The last half of 8th grade was rocky for Emma academically – due mostly to more socializing/procrastination than schoolwork – and there was much headbutting over this. So when 9th grade started a few weeks ago, I was hyper-vigilant, probably causing her more stress when a couple grades were not A’s and B’s like I know she can get.
And there’s the mood swings. People, I was an angel sent from teenage heaven (correct me if you remember differently, Mom). I never drank or smoked, I got good grades, I hung with the smart crowd, never even had a boyfriend, and think I was generally pretty nice to my parents. THIS girl, however – well, sometimes we don’t even like her much. She can be downright mean. And not just once in a while – on a daily basis. Those hormones are all over the damn place and they are exhausting.
All this to say I really am winging it here. Trying to pay attention but not too much attention. Spotting her like a gymnast coach as she navigates mean girls. Asking questions, but not too many questions. Giving opinions when asked even though I know she may not agree, because at least she ASKED. Forgiving the mean because she will later come and apologize, because she REALIZES it was wrong. Backing off the grade thing for a month to see where she takes it.
Because I know she IS trying. She’s trying to be a better student. She’s trying to be a good daughter and sister. Sometimes she is just more successful than others. Throw in learning her way in high school, learning who she is and where she wants to go and it’s no wonder things come out of her mouth she later regrets. The fact that she takes responsibility for those words gives me hope.
It’s a big ol’ steep, rocky mountain we’re climbing, and I have no idea where this trail will end. One thing is for sure.
I love these two like no tomorrow.