Yes, I am still alive. I am sitting on the balcony at our lake house in North Carolina, reading and relaxing before the weekend of July 4th activities begins. This is the first July 4th that we haven’t had houseguests, so we’re actually being a little more social than normal. Parties tonight and tomorrow night…we’re starting to meet more people up here. Since we plan on this being our home in a couple of years, it’s nice to finally start to make connections. For the first few years, it was such an ‘escape’ for J and I, that we liked the fact that we didn’t know anyone. We were able to just fly under the radar, come in and do things we wanted to do without any social obligations. But that would make for a pretty lonely existence up here. We’ve met people playing tennis, at the club, and at “music on the mountain”, the monthly pot luck get-together on top of Mt. Toxaway. We always take Rosie, our black lab, who serves as a wonderful magnet for new people.
H hasn’t had much luck meeting kids her age. We’re having better luck just bringing friends with us, or having families with friends her age come visit. We brought three friends right after exams were over for five days, and last weekend some dear friends came up with their daughters and a friend.
The problem with that is that when we’re here for weeks at a time, it’s hard to get kids up here for a few days. So, she just hangs with us, sleeps late, plays tennis, walks the dog, and signs up for every camp she can talk us into. She’s now in the snowy mountains of northern California, backpacking, ice climbing, rock climbing, rafting, and camping for a month. I was just reading about her upcoming hike to the summit of Mt. Shasta…it’s a serious thing! They’ve had record snowfalls and still have tons of snow there. So in addition to worrying about her staying warm and making it to the top of the mountain, now I have to worry about avalanches and accidental luge-like falls down the mountain.
She flies home and has four days with us before going to design camp for a week at North Carolina State University, then one night before going to a leadership conference for Operation Smile. Then she’ll have six days before school starts. Something tells me those six days will be spent reading the three summer reading books she hasn’t done yet, and completing the projects as well. So much for a relaxing summer. J didn’t want her to do the last conference, because he thought it was just too much time away from us, but finally recognized her desire to be around other 16-year-olds, and relented. She might decide hanging out with her parents isn’t as bad as she thinks, after the whirlwind of activities…or not. It’s all good. I miss her like crazy, but if she was here I’d just be dragging her out of bed before noon every day and bugging her about her summer reading. What fun is that?
As a rising 11th grader, she is spreading her wings. As we begin to let the rope out a little bit, there are lots of emotions that accompany it. I’m proud of the decisions she has made, and is making so far…her choices in friends and activities. I’m trying not to be a ‘helicopter mom’…letting her make mistakes and learning from them. That’s hard for me. I have typically been one of those, swoop-in-and-fix-things kind of mom. We’re lucky that her mistakes have (so far) been minor, and affected mostly herself. She’ll make more, and become a better person for it, of that I am sure. I have to bite my tongue, sometimes literally, to avoid nagging her about her summer reading, her eating habits, what she wears, how she fixes her hair…all things that really don’t matter in the large scheme of things, and things that drive H crazy. When she does the eye-roll, or the “mo–ooomm”, or the silent treatment, it’s usually because I’ve gone a little overboard in the motherly “advice” (or as she sees it, “smothering”) When I am successful at keeping my mouth shut about the little things, we have incredible times together. Before she left on her backpacking trip, we played golf, tennis, hiked, watched movies, and cuddled together. I’m so glad we did. She’s going to have an incredible time while she’s away, but hopefully, she’ll remember the good times we had before she left.