It’s graduation day….
May 14, 2009

Wheeee...its over!!

Wheeee...it's over!!

I wrote about my daughter in a post couple of years ago… (can it be that long?), about how high school doesn’t define you, and that even kids who have had difficulties  in middle school or grade school, whether they were the nerdy kid everyone made fun of, or a popular girl who had problems no one could see, or a kid that had learning disabilities that made him feel dumb….there are better times ahead. You too can go to college..there’s one for everybody…and create a new life for yourself. High school doesn’t define you.

And I wrote in particular about my sweet daughter, who had her own struggles in high school…I have the report cards to prove it. Those were complicated times for all of us. But tomorrow, and here’s the hope for all of you out there with kids who are struggling…. my girl graduates from college tomorrow.  I’m so proud of her. Because even though she struggled there too, I kept telling her…”You just need to get through and get your degree. You just need to get through.” And she has. And she has come out on the other side perhaps wiser than kids who easily sailed through school. She knows what it’s like to have to tell your parents you have another bad grade, what it’s like to really have to dig down deep and work harder, she knows herself better, I think, than kids on whom the sun shines all the time. Though it would be lovely to be one of those kids.

So to my daughter who will no doubt read this…she and her friends read my blog….(Her friend Heidi said the other day, “You got a whole sentence in your Mom’s blog!”, meaning that I’ve been a little wedding obsessed lately.), I salute you my daughter. When you could given up , you didn’t. When you could have justifiably been surly and mean, you weren’t. ( not much..) One day you will pass along to your daughter the lessons you have learned…the things you have dared to try…sometimes failing, but you tried. You are intelligent, funny, beautiful…and such a sweet spirit.  I have no doubt made many mistakes raising you, but you forgave me. As Maya Angelou said, “Make every effort to change things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you’ve been thinking. You may find a new solution.” And you somehow always did that. You may not see me in the crowd tomorrow, but you’ll know that I am there….watching… another proud mother.

High School Doesn’t Define You……
May 15, 2008

papersWhat you’re looking at in this picture, is a stack of interim reports and progress reports that my sweet daughter hid from me, when she was a freshman and sophomore in high school. She is home from college for a few days before heading to the beach with friends for a few more days, and then back to school for some summer classes, and then on to her senior year! The subject of grades came up last night for some reason, and she said “I think all the high school reports I hid from you are still in the back of a drawer in my room.”

We went upstairs and sure enough, there they were, reminders of a painful time 6 or 7 years ago. Painful for all of us. She was really struggling in the private school she attended…a very good school, but not the right school for her. And it was a complicated situation, but in the end she found a school that was right for her…she got a fresh start, and while she still struggles to this day on tests, she has found ways to work around what she doesn’t do well, with what she does do well, like day to day assignments, and reports.

I asked her if she remembered a clipping I gave her years ago to put in her wallet, and to pull it out whenever she was having a terrible day. I don’t remember who wrote it but it went like this….a woman told a girl in high school that she should enjoy it, those were the best years of her life. The girl looked stricken, and with good reason. High school very often isn’t the best years of someone’s life, thank God. Some people make bad grades, others are social outcasts….and if they think this is the best it’s gonna get, well….that’s not much to look forward to. But the truth is , if you saw most people 10 years after high school, they would bear little resemblance to who they were back then. The geeks have become successful business people, the outcasts have found themselves in college and lief beyond, the people who struggle with their grades make it through, and no one cares 10 years later if you were the valedictorian. High school doesn’t define you.

With some help, my baby girl has gone on to become a confidant, strong young woman, and I’m so proud of her. I asked why she hid the reports, knowing that I’d eventually learn the truth. She said, “I was afraid you’d be mad at me.” When I said, “No I wouldn’t have been mad…concerned of course. Want to help you, yes, but not mad. ” And I wouldn’t have been.  I knew she was struggling and wanted to do better. But she just couldn’t face it, and stuck an unpleasant truth in the back of her drawer.

She read some of them to me out loud last night, and I think in some way it was cathartic  for her…she even found some of them funny. I still felt a twinge of pain for her hearing them…it is one of the most painful things for a parent…to have a kid who is struggling, and all you can do is provide support. But here we are, years later…almost a senior in college….happy I think…she’s getting there. But then, we’re all a work in progress.