My daughter is going through a rough year. Being 15 is HARD. Many of us forget this. I don’t because high school was the worst four years, not the best four years, of my life. I was so hoping that my daughter would be luckier and in her freshman year, it seemed this would be the case. Good grades, lots of friends, involvement in many activities, recognition……all good stuff!
Then sophomore year hit. Grades plummeted, few friends, moody, closed off. Yes, of course, I’m worried. I’m working to keep lines of communication open. I am checking to see if there is something REALLY wrong that needs more help than I can give. I am praying it is just normal teenage angst. We are working on it…everyday. Some days I despair -
But some days….
My daughter has never been a reader – for pleasure, that is, much to my dismay. I always figured she would eventually find a genre that would engage her and that would open up the world of books. It just never happened. I finally gave up hoping – it just wasn’t her thing.
Two weekends ago, however, I had taken her out for a “girls” afternoon – lunch, shopping, etc. just to spend some relaxed time together. I don’t even recall how the subject was raised – but in the course of our conversation, she revealed her love for Shakespeare!!!!!! She had been required to read several of his works in her honors English classes over the past few years. And now – she loves him.
I tried not to steer my car into the lamppost. I did my best to play it cool. “Really?” I calmly replied. “What else do you want to read by him?”
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’d also like a new journal.”
My car immediately made a beeline for the nearest bookstore. I have always told my kids that I will almost NEVER say no to a new book.
We found Barnes & Noble and, once inside, headed directly for the classics. She pulled out several books that she was interested in: Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, The Tempest.
I asked her questions about what she had read in the past and why these were interesting to her. She answered with intelligent, thoughtful responses.
We then made our way over to the sales section where they had a whole row of classic literature. The magic got better…
She began to OOH and AAH over things like Jane Austen, Jules Verne and Charles Dickens.
“I have a list going…. there are so many books I want to read,’ she revealed.
WHAT?? Who was this person – where did my non-reading daughter go? I still kept my cool.
“That’s great! Why don’t you pick out one or two books now to start with?”
After about 30 minutes in the stacks, we moved over to the journals. I have an obsession with blank journals – you can never have too many in my opinion. My daughter has inherited this obsession. We drooled over beautiful leather-bound books, sleek moleskin, textured paper.
She found a smooth-skinned black journal on sale.
Finally, we gravitated over to the section where they have quotes – on cards, magnets, mugs, journals, wood, etc. Again – she has acquired my life-long passion for collection quotes and we spent a quarter of an hour sifting through various items, reading each quote, commenting on it, liking or disliking it.
All in all, it was an hour of intense bonding with my daughter that came serendipitously. I felt like I had just met this amazing young woman for the first time. Inside I was screaming and crying and dancing with pure joy – outside I remained calm but interested and encouraging.
I hope she gets through these years without too much drama, worry, heartache or pain – I hope that I can be there for her to help her. I sincerely hope she and I will share more moments like this one in the years ahead.
Quotes of the day:
•Little children, headache; big children, heartache. ~Italian Proverb
•Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. ~Henry David Thoreau