Friday, August 21, 2020

What I will Tell my Child about High School

The Headlines:

You have a baby...  

And they grow up.

Has this happened to you?  You head to the hospital to have a baby and then you take them home.  They go to sleep... you wake up and they're in high school.  

That's truly how life works.  It's just that quick.  

They are your little boy/girl and then overnight they are a complete adult.  Their voices change.  They have opinions.  They get boy/girl friends.  They find themselves.  They lose themselves.  They go out ALL THE TIME.  They seem to not need you.

But they do.  They definitely do. 

My daughter is ready to grow into her own person but she also still wants my input as to how that happens.  She wants to know if a sharp right turn is a good idea or if veering there is better.  And I want to tell her.  But I'm treading lightly.  

Why?  Because I want her to know that many decisions are now hers to make.  Now,  I'm here to see her make them.  In 4 more years, I won't be.

After 14 years, this time of input isn't "my way or the highway"  but rather, here's what I would do - so what do you think you should do?  It's hard letting go of that control but I've seen what happens if you don't... either clear cut resentment and anger or a child who never knows how to make decisions on their own.  

Neither is good.  

It's like High School is a 4 year training program: into adulthood.  Cause they're going there with or without our help.  

High School is also the last time we get full time with this little girl in our house.  And that, my friends, is somewhat excruciating, isn't it?  My husband lived for almost 3 years in California doing his job.  Good job experience - not so great for the family.  He missed her entire Middle School.  Time he will never get back.  He "moved home," a few months ago.  I thank God he won't miss her High School in the same way.  These next few years will be a fresh and fast new reality that will go a little like this...

Freshman - pretty similar to 8th grade.  She's new to HS... she will proceed with caution. Make new friends.  It's still Corona time.

Sophomore - she'll be more comfortable.  Lots of friends and activities will follow.  Life will start to speed up (COVID will be mostly behind us - hopefully), she'll be preparing to drive.   

Junior - so much happens this year.  Freedom abounds. College visits, studies and sports hit a high,  she is in her High School prime!

Senior -  she's speeding up while winding down.  she may begin to hate us.  She's practically out the door. 

And then she is... gone.  Off to college.  

As suddenly as she came roaring in to our lives - she darts out.  So what can I tell her during these 4 incredibly formative years?  Do I have any knowledge to share?  I do.  You do too. Maybe it goes something like this:

Dear Dream Come True, 

Get ready for the time of your life.  

These 4 years can be incredible.  There will be major highs and deep lows.  Studies will consume you.  People will confuse you.  You will find a Best Friend Freshman year who may not be a Friend Senior year.  There will be opportunities before you that you have to take advantage of and focus on.  Be true to yourself while remaining supportive of others.  Do not pretend to be someone you're not.  Try something new.  Something unexpected.  As long as it's legal.  Remember three's a crowd so maneuver that carefully.  Be on Social Media, do not rely on it.  Talk to people more than snapping them.  Make friends for who they are, not what they can do for you.  Find a crush but don't marry them.  Laugh ALL THE TIME.  And don't eat frozen yogurt with sourdough bread every afternoon.  That did terrible things to my rear when I was your age.  

Let me break it down: 
Find yourself and through that you will find others.  
Help others and you will become true.
Be true and kind and kindness will follow.  

You have so much to give, so much depth and potential that I cannot wait to see where it will lead you.  Or where you will lead.  Because the girl you are today is just the beginning of the woman you will be tomorrow.   

Please know, during all 4 years of high school... your family will be here.  By your side.  The entire time.  We will wait to see you soar, stop to catch your fall, dry the tears that come and cheer when you stand tall.  By yourself, not alone.  

That's not reassure you.  It's our Promise to you.  

Trust in that...  trust in God and trust in yourself.  If you do that, fully and heartily - the rest will be "easy".

All our love and prayers,
Your Mom, Dad and Brother

Yes, High School is fleeting but I contend it leaves a lasting mark on many.  It can set the tone for the rest of ones life.  In many different ways.  

In this day in age, of COVID, I am certain the "Coronnials" as I call them... will not only have the typical trials and tribulations of growing up but they will have so much more.  

Perhaps the challenge will make some rise.  It will also make others crumble.  It's their choice which path they take.  As a parent of a high schooler I want to encourage my child to push her limit beyond what others would have imagined.  The opportunities will flow like a thriving waterfall if they see and live it that way. 

When I brought my little bundle home from the hospital I knew we were in for a wild rollercoaster ride.  Just never thought the ride would take us to High School... the very next morning.  

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