Summer vacation has flown by. It seems like just a few days ago we were celebrating the last day of school and eighth grade graduation. But here we are, with just about two weeks left of break before A- heads off on a new path. High school. The idea has struck fear into the very core of her heart, but like it or not, the bell will ring on that first day to herald in the next chapter. She will be fine – she just doesn’t know this yet.
We’re taking a few days this week to hang out with each other and have some fun. Much needed. I’d almost decided not to this year – we couldn’t really afford a vacation of any sort and I figured I didn’t need to take off from work either. A- was okay with that, but I knew she was a little sad. Finally she came to me and asked me if I could take a few days off to spend time with her, that she needed some “mom time” just the two of us with no distractions. How could I say no to that? I’m glad I did, as she’s been struggling here recently, and was trying to hide it for the most part, but depression and self harm are persistent demons. (I call them this because that’s what A- calls them. Too many times she says it feels like a demon whispering in her ear.) I’d give anything to be able to take it all away. She says she can’t even pinpoint why things are amped up again right now. She says she is happier than she has ever been, that things are going well for her, and aside from being nervous about starting high school, that her life is the best it’s ever been. She said she finally has something that she wished for for so long that it doesn’t seem real. We talked at great length a couple nights ago, and she came to the conclusion that it’s the little part of her that still insists she does not deserve the feelings of happiness, that she doesn’t deserve to be okay, and that she is worthless. She says there is comfort in the familiarity of depression and self harm. Maybe she has a point. I know there will be times of struggle and times of relapse, but it doesn’t make it any easier. All I can offer is love, compassion, understanding and patience. I can offer kindness and support. I remind her that she has a support system in place – family, a trusted friend, her counselor – people who are there, waiting to help. She only has to ask. The asking for help is the difficult part. She doesn’t like to talk about the dark parts of herself – no one does – And she also thinks she should be able to handle things on her own without “bothering” anyone. Maybe when she gets used to being happy. Maybe when she gets used to knowing that her life is moving in a positive direction. Then maybe the nasty cycles will become less and less. We will keep moving. It’s all we can do. One day maybe she will see the wonderfully amazing being that she is. Until then, I’ll just have to keep reminding her! 😉
I’m rambling again. Summer. I was talking about summer. It’s been a crazy one around here! It’s been fun to watch as A- has acted more like a kid this summer than I’ve seen in a while. She’s had fun with friends, lots of laughing and goofing around, lots of silliness. She’s never been a “normal” kid, much less a normal teen, always much more mature than her age, so it’s been fun watching her with a couple friends just acting goofy for the fun of it. This summer has been a weird combination of extremely good mixed with the bad. It’s been a living, breathing contradiction. She’s right, she IS happier. And that part is great to see.
It will be interesting to see what the next few months hold as she adjusts to high school life. It’s going to be vastly different for her. But she will be fine.
But here we are, saying our final farewell to summer with some “girl time.” I will take any excuse to spend time with my favorite girl. 🙂 Sometimes it isn’t about what you “should” do if you were being all adult and responsible – it’s about making memories and doing what you really “need” to do. Right now, us spending a few days together is what is needed. I’m okay with that!