Friday, July 10, 2015

pondering the ways of teenagers

teenagers seem a bit like raptors at times
the child came home from italy more of a moody teenager than when she left. i guess two weeks of sunshine and eating real pizza and lying on a beach and staying up too late will do that. she was, in any case, tired and not really that happy to be landed back in this little town in the middle of nowhere. apparently, she's convinced that within her beats the heart of a city girl, or at the very least, the heart of a copenhagen girl (little does she know that copenhagen, with a population of only a little over half a million, isn't really a city in the strictest sense).

over dinner, she expressed dissatisfaction with plans to spend a year in the states (school year 16-17) in the little town where i grew up. apparently going from one middle of nowhere town to another isn't appealing when you're tired and have just been hanging out in italy. but i imagine she'll go willingly when it comes down to it. we may have scared her last week with talk of extreme religious nutcases and long distances to amenities like movies and proper shoe shops and apple stores. but then, i got out of there non-religious and there's always the internet for shopping, so she'll be fine.

initially, her negative reaction to studying for a year in my little hometown hurt. it felt like a rejection of me. i think it's important for her to know her roots - to get to know the extended family still living there and to have a taste of what it means to be a member of our family and to have a sense of groundedness in that place. but then i realized that rejection is a natural part of the rebellion of growing up. and i had to admit that i too cannot imagine ever living there again, so how can i expect her to imagine it, if only for a year?

but i'm also confident that she'll get over it and will undoubtedly want to go and look forward to going. she'll be able to get a driver's license (something she can't do until 18 in denmark, to my great dismay), make new friends, spend time with family, participate in competitive cheerleading (after a year at a gymnastics-focused boarding school, she'll be awesome) and try a whole host of other things that you can only do in a small high school, where the very life of the place is dependent on everyone participating in everything. and she will get in touch with a part of where she comes from. it will undoubtedly be uniquely her own perspective and grounding and that's ok too.

in a few weeks, she's off to boarding school. it's only 30 minutes away and she will come home some weekends. people keep asking us if we're freaking out and sad about it and i keep looking within for those feelings. and they aren't there. i love seeing her taking flight, setting goals, working towards them. it's the natural progression in her growing up into the person she will become. i think i've felt all along that as a parent i'm witness to something magical, but which i have only had the smallest modicum of control over. and i feel privileged to be there for each stage of a natural progression of this amazing child coming into her own. going to the gymnastics boarding school for her final year of primary school is exactly what should happen next. she's ready and so are we.


will said...

i dunno, if i had to pick a place in the the US for a kid to spend time ... NYC, LA or Chi town... maybe.
otherwise, it's a crap shoot with the odds towards the house. best alternatives: a greenpeace ship, a full load at berkeley, mit or rit... even boston in a pinch.

Magpie said...

What a great mom you are to your kid.