My oldest has been going through a strange metamorphosis since the last week of August, the first week of school here in La Belle Province. Although it isn’t complete yet (these delicate matters take time) it is well under way.
High school has been good to her so far. At least, the one she is attending has been good to her, which happens to be the one I work at (I think I mentioned this before). So I am in a unique position to see it happen. Not a teacher but the supervisor of a common space where she hangs out, I am finally that fly on the wall every parent dreams of being at one point or another.
But back to her metamorphosis. Indicative of this big change is that she no longer want to move to Victoria, for the first time since we moved to Montreal seven years ago. When I asked her why? She told me because her school was not there but here.
Let us pause at that. She loves her school so much she no longer wants to move back to a place she has always identified as her home. Her love of her school has finally made Montreal her home. I am still in shock.
The other indication of change has been her consistent happiness. Now, she was never an unhappy child. Far from it. But especially the last year she would have dramatic mood swings (just a note that I am quite sure we haven’t seen the last of those- it is adolescence after all) and was never excited about going to school. She would miss if given the opportunity, while at this school she says things like, “What do you mean you are taking me out early on Friday? But I’ll miss my two favourite classes- English and Math!”
Seriously. Math? The bane of my whole family’s existence? The only subject in my life I have ever needed to be tutored in?
It is safe to say that I have never seen her so consistently happy in my life. She is a different person: confident, calm, competent and apparently communicative in class (I get the scoop from the teachers, yo- which is another story). Before she was too shy to ever speak up, felt she was no good at school and would get herself in a frenzy of stress. But now, she even auditioned and got a part in the school’s junior play. She will be playing Moth the fairy in the upcoming production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The mind boggles.
The other story: although I went to the same school my mother taught at for most of my life, I didn’t realize how it was for my mother. Hitherto, when I went to work, it was like a mini-break from parenting, where ignorant of all my children’s mini-battles during the day, I could go on with equanimity, only hearing about it at dinner, when the drama was over and everything dealt with.
Not now. For example, the other day my daughter misplaced her English book (it had dropped from the teetering pile she needs to carry around with her). She was in tears and couldn’t see a solution. The bell rang and she had to go to class crying and miserable. Of course, she left me in a mini-state of anxiety. I didn’t see her until after lunch, when I found out that someone had found her book and put it on the shelves by the lockers. Very minor incident during the day, but when it is your own daughter in tears, you can’t help but get a little stressed for her. And, because I am her mother, she comes straight to me whenever something like that goes wrong.
Oh and friends. She has friends! Which isn’t that surprising as she is in an all girls school. And she has made nice friends. Bookish friends as well as friends who look u to her. I see her in the library sometimes and will here a girl calling her name in a high-pitched voice, asking her for help. My daughter goes to her, very calm, very patient and helps her out.
And, of course, there is the meeting of the friend at the mall. Last Sunday, my little girl biked to the mall by herself, met her friend and bought clothes without me. I had never really thought about this before, but hitherto I have exercised relative control over my daughter’s wardrobe, just by virtue of being present when it is purchased. But now she is taking her own money and buying herself stuff. Fortunately, most of the clothing purchased is cute and appropriate.
Except for on black sheer top that is my size and would look better on me…