Back to regularly scheduled programming (sort of)
I'll bet you thought I forgot I had a blog. When my daughter was younger, there were so many milestones to document and celebrate. I churned out blog posts pretty regularly back then. How many did I write on potty training alone? These days, there is much to celebrate but eh, she already knows how to walk, is potty trained, and can ride a two-wheeler. Recently, I hung a framed letter board in A's hangout room in the basement. It currently bears a quote from Hairspray ("I'll eat some breakfast, then change the world"), but I've definitely been tempted to change it to something like, "She used to poop in the tub."
My daughter is now a junior in high school. Losing over a year of in-person schooling to COVID leaves me feeling perplexed about how we got here. She was a freshman and now she's graduating a mere 20 months from now? Her school is currently in session five days a week, in person, and masks are required. I've heard of parents pulling their kids out of school because of the mandate, but I think the kids are generally pretty compliant. My daughter also has to wear a mask at work (she works as a server in a senior living center) for 4-8 hour shifts and she just deals with it. Sometimes she forgets to take the mask off even when she can. I think most kids don't mind if it means they can do all of the "normal" high school activities.
Speaking of regular activities, my daughter and two of her friends went to the Homecoming dance last weekend. Friday night was the Homecoming game; A joined her choir to sing the national anthem before the game. It was great to see the kids doing all of the goofy Homecoming activities like beach day and pranks that always seem to involve silly string. I never thought the sight of toilet paper billowing from the trees at the high school would make me so happy. She's also in the fall play and in show choir at school, as well as a city choir that rehearses on Sunday nights. She's busy, but not too busy to have a boyfriend! They started dating in the spring and seem to get along really well. When they first started getting to know each other, she kept telling me that he was "just a friend." The night before her birthday, he called her at midnight so that he could be the first person to wish her a happy birthday. I have some wonderful friends, but I can assure you that none of them are dying to be the first person to acknowledge my birthday on any given year. Even the person who gave birth to me is not *that* sentimental about what time she calls. Not surprisingly, they made it official a few weeks later. He's a smart guy; he's learned to wait at home until she is fully ready before coming over vs. sitting in our living room or driveway for the better part of an hour. When she's wearing leggings, he carries her phone in his pocket. They seem to get along really well. I knew he was practically a member of our family when he started letting our dogs in and out.
I know 2020 was hard on everyone. 2021, in a global sense, has been nearly as disheartening/tragic/maddening (but at least we now have vaccines). Last year, I was pretty close to putting my daughter on antidepressants (we discussed it with her doctor but she decided to wait). For the extroverts, I think quarantine was particularly challenging. She stopped singing in her room (or anywhere, really). I missed her voice ringing out with various show tunes. My mom, who raised three girls, still talks about the "teenage girl energy" that filled her house once upon a time. I was missing that, too. A's grades plummeted. It was harder for her to connect with friends (or make new ones) without the proximity benefit of seeing them in the hallways at school. As I write this, I hear her belting out "You Will Be Found" as she plays games online. A welcome sound indeed.
Next month, she'll get her driver's license and, at long last, will be able to drive herself around. She's about six months behind because she wasn't super motivated to take the classroom portion of driver's training online. I am not ashamed to admit that I bribed her to finish those classes and get her temporary permit. Of course, once she has her regular license, I'll miss the time in the car with her. My grandma told me that she loved the learner's permit days with her kids, when she had to be in the car while they drove. "They'd talk to me," she said. It's bittersweet, but it'll mostly just be sweet when she can drive herself to her many, many rehearsals.
I'm trying not to think about how she'll be an adult before too long and will be out of the house. While there is still time, I've volunteered for three different activities at her school: board member of the Music Parents' Association (which is like a sports booster club but for music programs), chairperson of a show choir competition committee, and parent organizer for the February musical. Where will I find the time? Who knows! I'll make it work.
My charitable daughter has given me her cold, so I'll sign off now. I've taken some NyQuil so I'm unlikely to be conscious for much longer. I'll share a few photos from the past few months. We had a fun summer. We had a new patio installed, so we've been able to spend more time outside. One of my nephews visited for a week in July, and we went to Myrtle Beach and Charleston with friends in August. Our family vacationed in Myrtle Beach several times when I was in my early teens. Did it get hotter since then? Holy cow, I was unprepared for that caliber of humidity. I repainted and redecorated the dining room over the summer, too. My husband has had just about enough of my pandemic projects. Or I think that's what he said. Blah blah blah. Stop buying stuff blah blah blah.
Okay, Nyquil's kickin' in.