Over the course of the last 19 years I’ve probably written more about motherhood than nearly any other topic and certainly the transition into motherhood for me was cathartic and I’m never happier than when I see or hear from both of my children in the same day. But this particular ride of motherhood is about to be over for good–the K-12 ride. And as I am sitting on a train, and as I am procrastinating the completion of a particularly daunting project, and as I am continually sidetracked by these thoughts, I thought the much neglected blog was as good a place as any to set down some thoughts on the last three months of school for my daughter.
This year has been a literal trial by fire.
How do you continue to live and go to school with the dippy kid voted most likely to succeed who isn’t living next to a burnt down town with sporadic internet where the electricity sometimes flickers? Can one compete in the shallowness of high school leadership if one was hospitalized during covid? Can you compete in the high school world as if you weren’t assaulted by an ex-boyfriend in fall of 2021 which triggered the memory of a cousin doing the same in 2012? Or have underlining health problems anyhow? I am amazed at my girl’s strength–the ability she has to still get up in the morning. Three grandmothers have died in this same time period. How is she able to get up ? Some days she isn’t.
It gets better, right?
It’s gets better is and LGBTQ+ slogan but it does belong to any outsider child. Any child that can feel deeply. Any child that understands the depths of issues that the surface children around them in their smug good-family and grades do not understand.
She likes her college classes–the playing field a bit more even at the local community college , grades a bit better. No predatory principals like she had for a year and a half. No hoops to jump just for the sake of them watching the jump and laughing if a toe gets stuck in the hoop.
But we all hate high school, don’t we? High school: the deadener of souls.
I want her love of learning back. I want her hope back. I want her to find people just as interested in the things that really matter as she is interested.
If I could give her advice at this moment I would say girl, just get to their arbitrary finish line, shake the hand, and say fuck this shit in the parking lot, put the key in the ignition and go. Get out of here. You need someplace bigger than this. A place with humans whose intellect matches yours. Whose heart matches yours. You need a place where the measurement of achievement is by measuring the things that matter.
And to high school, I say congratulations. You won. You managed yet again to take a bright soul and mangle her spirit. I will forever live with the guilt of not doing enough to keep the every day evil of the zombie jingoism of high school away from my kids. Just like the guilt all good mothers feel of having not seen the evil coming round the corner as it tries to consume your kids. It’s a hard road this K-12, this getting them to the finish line.