She’s been a high school junior for exactly a week now. She glosses over this fact when she cheerfully reports to me this morning that she is currently getting straight A’s. It’s one of the more amusing parts of our day together. There will be many more.
School for her is a spot to the right of me at our dining room table. She’s wrapped up in a blanket that looks like a tortilla. Air Pods, Zoom calls, breakout rooms for group work, and awkward class discussions about The Crucible. This is not what she expected her junior year to look like.
Truthfully, I love it. I don’t want it to go away. I’m in no hurry for schools to re-open. It has nothing to do with the fact that there’s a virus still spreading rapidly.
I know there is an army of parents out there trying desperately to get their work done while their 6-year-old navigates online school. It’s time-consuming and frustrating. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. The 5–8 years were not my strong suit.
There are just as many parents who have to find creative solutions to find care for their child who is too young to mind themselves. Parents whose jobs don’t afford them the luxury of being able to work from home.
I understand how and why these parents long for normalcy. It’s needed to sustain their homes financially and to save their sanity.
I also understand I’m blessed. When my daughter was staring down her teenage years, people warned me.
“She’s gonna hate you soon. Just wait. She will become a human that is totally foreign to you,” they would tell me. “Teenage girls become mom-hating demons.”
I’ve been planning for that since she was little. I used to joke around with her that I was keeping notes and pictures of every nice thing I did for her, like filling the entire house with streamers for her 9th birthday.
I let her know that someday when she yelled at me that she hated me, I would break out a PowerPoint presentation with this archive of love to remind her that she actually loved me and I loved her back. I have never needed that PowerPoint.
I’m learning so much about my daughter. This is a side of her I never get to see. Her classmates and teachers love her. Not because she’s pretty or the best athlete in the school. She’s an athlete that lands on a sliding scale at “pretty good” and is just on the tail end of her awkward phase.
They like her because she’s genuine and real. She’s also hilarious and kind. I knew these qualities existed in my kid but I’ve never had a chance to see them at work. It’s astonishing.
In turn, she gets to see me working. She is coming to know that my job is not easy. It takes a lot of focus and the ability to work quickly while managing distractions.
Her seeing me try to create a nearly $4 million budget while grabbing phone call after phone call, answering endless emails, and taking breaks only to wash the dishes lets her understand me more.
But mostly, I am milking every single moment of this I can. Rarely do I get to be this close to her for this long of a period of time. Every day that passes is a reminder than she’s another day closer to being an adult.
I’m soaking up every single ridiculous random statement that comes out of her all day long.
“Check it, ma! Already filled up my Hydro twice today! I am SO hydrated!”
“I’ll be right back. I know exactly how many bites of my sandwich I took already. Don’t try anything!”
“I’m just going to keep calling my teachers by their first names when they can’t hear me.”
“If my teacher calls me Carolyn one more time…”
Toward the end of her day, something occurred to me. We have a guest room with a desk in it. She has a small desk that we made from her closet in her room. At the end of last year, she just worked on her bed.
She has been out at the dining table since school started. Not because she has to. Because she wants to. It warms my heart.
So, no. I don’t want the school district to make her report back to class. I know she’s antsy to see her friends and going to volleyball practice when you can’t actually touch a volleyball or a net is driving her insane.
It’s pure selfishness on my part. It’s a mom who is two years from being an empty nester clinging to right now. I just want to keep honoring the fact that this may be the best time I have ever spent with my daughter. Can’t I just keep that for a little longer?