Sylvia has completed her first year of high school! It has been a whirlwind year for her...and me. And Riley. It's impossible for one of us not to affect the others.
But much of it isn't my story to share, it's hers.
What I can share is what I've learned about me through this year. And some of it ain't pretty.
As I've said, I have the best intentions. I love her so much, and I want so much for her, and I believe that she can do anything.
But I admit, when I don't see her operating from that place, it makes me kinda crazy. I don't want her to waste opportunities. I don't want her to lose sight of the big picture.
Of course, she's 14. She's a teenager! She doesn't see it like I do. And she's not necessarily wrong. It just completely freaks me out.
So much of parenting is about trying to see ahead to the end; how their actions will affect them.
From baby-proofing to house rules, we are always trying to create an atmosphere of making good choices and, if they don't, protecting them from negative consequences.
We can't do that forever, though.
I was watching a discussion take place in a private FB group about inappropriate messages. Take away computer access, one parent suggested. Get more parental security software.
While I understand the desire to simply block access, and I too keep the computer in the main living area so I can see what's on the screen easily, I know that's only part of it.
I know that her friends have access to the internet on their devices even if Sylvia's phone is blocked. I know that I certainly got away with some stuff (or at least hoped I would) that I wouldn't want my parents to know when I was her age.
And I know all too well that we learn the most from our mistakes.
Still, that's my kid! I don't want her to have to learn the hard way. She has had to learn so much the hard way already that I would like some things to come easily to her, and I certainly don't want to see her waste any opportunity.
So I freak out. I lecture, she gets defensive, and round and round we go. We retreat, and I remember that there's only so much I can do.
I'm sure I will forget these lessons early in her sophomore year, but that's another lesson, isn't it? Sometimes, changing ourselves takes longer than we'd like.
So for now, we'll just try to revel in the summer ahead and our family play together, and save the rest for the next school year.