Hello, June, and welcome back to my world. I have been waiting for you!
June comes around with a better certainty of the weather. Us Midwesterners look forward to the glory of summer, and warm temperatures that gives way to the bustling life of outdoor activities. There are more than 10 thousand lakes in Minnesota, and outdoor living is highly celebrated starting from June.
Tendril has two more days of school, not including today, until the end of her junior year. She has a week or two of breaks before she goes to summer school. She needs to make up two classes in order to enter senior year and be on track for graduation next June.
Recently she expressed an interest in going to police academy at a community college, which is a tuition-free program as part of a community support and collaboration to get kids who did not make it to mainstream college-bound track for alternative vocations. She receives a lot of support from the school’s social worker, making sure that she does not fall in between the cracks, or rather, the canyons that kept her from being her fullest self.
However, she also expressed an interest in going to a four-year college, and to have a college degree. Realistically, her academic performance and ability is so weak, that I don’t think going to a four-year college is the right choice, at least not right away. As a former admission counselor and college administrator working with students with similar background like Tendril, I want to discourage her from doing that. She will crash and burn in no times.
Whenever I look at other 17-year-old girls her age, I feel an immense sadness and empathy for Tendril. The lack of stability in her formative years left a large crater in her life, of which it manifests a wide range of destructive behaviors in recent years of her teenage life. I don’t know how much O and I can help her, we are trying our best to work with her emotional stability, and seeing positivity from life.
Last night I helped her crafting an essay, relating to the experience of the author of the book, Wild, by Sheryl Strayed. She wrote about being abandoned, and her recent encounter with drug abuse. Her writing was very rudimentary, but the thoughts that she conveyed left me with an imprinted guilt that stayed in my mind throughout the night, adding another layer to my existing insomnia. I wish I was there for her earlier, that I was able to adopt her in my early 20s, that I took her with me to Boston and traveling to places where I met people that enrich and empower my life.
I want her to have that same life, if not more so a life that she feels that love is not something she needs to beg, but it’s given voluntarily. She needs to learn of her self worth, and build the confidence in her own ability knowing where she could place her amazing potential to yield a greater future.
Being stand-in parents for a 17-year-old teenager, O and I are doing a lot of double-guessing ourselves, e.g. the right thing to say to a teenager, setting boundaries, dealing with her emotional roller coasters, etc.. But we know for certain that she is loved, and we care about her. I keep telling her every day, that today is the beginning of her life, and tomorrow is even a better day. She needs to be in the company of positive influences, of people who sincerely care and support her, and her future.