My 16 year old daughter teaches me so much on many levels.
This is Labor Day Weekend– a long weekend to soak up the last bit of summer before school starts back up for good. What does she do?
On Friday night, while I was out and trying to check in with her, she does not respond to my texts, which is unusual for her. I asked a neighbor to check in on her, and he finds her at the dining room table doing her homework. She left her phone in her room so she would not be disturbed by all the snapchats and group texts. This is to get homework out of the way so she is not cramming on Monday.
On Saturday afternoon, she goes to the library to take her 4 hour ACT review test (which she will go over with her tutor that she asked for). She cries all the way there because she’d rather be doing just about anything else. But I am not the one making her do this– she is.
On Sunday, she sleeps in, binge watches on Netflix, spends time with her dad, and then enjoys an evening with her friends (she takes my car).
Today– it is almost noon on Labor Day, and she is still sleeping. She plans to take her 4 hour SAT review test. Next Sunday, she meets with her tutor for the first time to go over the results to identify her strengths and weaknesses.
She feels a great sense of relief that she has two important things accomplished already, and that she can sleep in today, allowing her to move through this week without the monster things that many of us would procrastinate on looming over her head. I know that, at her, age, and maybe even now, I would have saved all that work to the end, and that this day would have been met with complete dread.
Some might call her Sunday activities of “rest and relaxation” Self-Care. While it was an important way to replenish and maintain balance, I think, however, that the other stuff that required true discipline was the actual Self Care. Self Care was doing things she didn’t want to do that had to get done in order to keep moving forward in her life as she wanted it to unfold. As she knocked them out in the luxury of her own terms (rather than last minute when options diminish), her Self Care not just worked to build on her character, but made her feel unencumbered and accomplished, allowing her to enjoy fully the moments of rest and play, completely entitled to them and free from justifications. I bow to her.