Teenagers. They’re frustrating one minute, but inspire your awe and pride the next. Since I vented yesterday about that little attitude problem I had with my daughter, it’s only right that I commend the heart and friendship she exhibited today.
Even more amazing is that all of this happened while she was very far from feeling her best. She was feeling pretty punky this morning, but in the absence of a fever or migraine or stomach-flu symptoms, I sent her off to school. Just after 8:30 (less than 45 minutes after her arrival) she texted me to come pick her up, that she was in the nurse’s office. Yup, stomach flu.
True to form, she opened up during the short drive home. (Kids always open up in the car!) Apparently a good friend of hers is very upset with her mom. The friend is an only child; Mom’s a single parent; Dad is remarried and lives in a nearby city with his new wife and 2 small children from that marriage. And Mom doesn’t drive, but she works long hours, until late at night sometimes. My daughter’s friend feels like she gets no attention from her mom, that her mom doesn’t care about her, that she should move in with her dad. She is either alone from just after school until late in the evening or with an aunt, uncle and young cousin with whom she doesn’t get along well.
I observed to Middle Sister that her friend probably wasn’t complaining to her all the time in order to get Middle Sister to solve the problem; that she probably just wanted someone to listen. And I commiserated with her friend that it must be tough to be all alone all evening with no way to get anywhere, and all of that.
A few minutes after we arrived home, my daughter was set up with her ginger ale and crackers and cell phone. And then she asked if we could do something for her friend, if her friend could come here after school a couple of times a week and have dinner with our family so she wouldn’t be alone so much.
I told her that would be fine, as long as I knew in advance when we’d have a dinner guest and if it wasn’t on the nights when Little Brother has rehearsal, because we’d have to drive this girl home after dinner and that won’t work on rehearsal nights.
And this is why I do what I do. She may be 16, but as her friend’s situation clearly demonstrates, 16-year-olds need parents around too. Families with a stay-at-home parent make sacrifices so that can happen. I know that not every family is able to do this, but I am very grateful that my family can and does, and that, in her own way, my daughter knows that it’s a good thing.