Thursday, June 26, 2014

Finding Our Way

Yesterday was the first step in my oldest daughter's journey of spreading her wings and flying away from home. She left for a two week trip to Great Britain. We are so very excited for her. I know this will be the trip of a life time for her. I also know my girl, and at some point being in close quarters with the many people will get on her nerves. The awesome thing about maturity is she can push past that and have a wonderful time. I am almost more worried about her missing her boyfriend than us. He is such a sweet boy. He came with us to see her off. Lily spent yesterday hiding in the basement. I suspect that she is going to really miss her big sister.

After the drop off, I went out for dinner and drinks with some of the other mothers. I have yet to figure out what makes it so difficult for me to navigate conversations with other mothers. I do think my hearing has a lot to deal with it. I always end up at the end of the table in crowded restaurants. I spend a lot of time smiling, nodding analyzing the bits that I heard, and putting the conversation together in my head. By the time I've done all of that, the conversation has moved on. One of the mothers is a special education teacher and she and I had read and reposted the same article about the DOE's new testing plans for children with special needs. We talked a lot about that. I think that explains my other block. I am just a bit obsessed with teaching.

At one point they all pulled out their phones to check final grades which had just been posted. I didn't. You could insert a joke about helicopter parents here, but you could also just as easily have painted me as a distracted/uninvolved parent. I don't think either fits. I knew Caroline's grades because she is just a bit obsessed with her GPA (as she should be), and I didn't need the frustration of trying to get to the Internet on my phone. I can text and play Burds (easily the most addictive game ever), but browsing on my phone? Not so much.

I guess the biggest thing is conversation topics. When other parents request educational advice, I am all in. I love to talk about education. I would really love to talk about movies, TV, and music. It is just hard finding adults with the same interests as me. Really, most of my tastes run along the same lines as a sophisticated teenager. The one thing that I tend to not talk about would be my kids. I keep it all very general. It is the same philosophy as the blog: their stories are not my stories. Once you put something out there, it cannot be taken back. It would be so easy for people to get the wrong idea about my girls based on my stories. Lily would seem like a brat, Caroline would seem angelic. They are so much more complicated than that. Anything I would say would be pale and two-dimensional. There really is no way to put into words the awesomeness that is my girls (or any kids). Besides, once you say something or put it in print it never goes away. I am not just my girls mother, I am their PR rep. It is up to me to represent them in the best possible light.

But, more than that, I am Melissa, a person in her own right. Very soon (so much sooner than I am ready for) I will be moving into the next stage in my life. I will always be a mother, but it will not always be my chief responsibility. The same goes for teaching. I need to find a way to continue to be at peace with myself and follow the things that I am passionate about.

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