All of this was very difficult for Kayla to verbalize. Out of our three, she is the toughest to reach, and to read. She told me she prides herself in being this way. Surprisingly, during our conversation, I didn't get angry or defensive. Well, maybe I got a little defensive in the very beginning, because who likes being told they are not doing a good job? I said things like "I'm trying", but it sounded weak and pointless, so I stopped. Because whatever I was doing, and however I was doing it, wasn't effective. I explained to her that I would actually start listening to her, and that being a mom has always, and will continue to be my first priority. I told her it is my main purpose in life.
I'm not going to say this was received with instant smiles and gratification, but at least I said what I needed. To a teenager, if they don't see an immediate, concrete change; the doubt, anger, and fear will usually linger.
With all that was going on, the party, the class, the wedding... my plan was to help her with her college search in two weeks, when I had more time. But two weeks, when she told me "this is urgent to me", is too long.
Do I foresee having a life after my kids leave? Of course I do. But none of them have left yet. And I'm glad about that. So why would I rush into the next chapter of my life, when this one hasn't ended?
After getting my parent's advice and opinions, (of course :) I did what I had to do. I called and asked if this opportunity to teach would be lost, if I didn't attend the class this week. Fortunately, the answer to this was that it would not. There will be other classes offered. And quite frankly, explaining our situation to someone in the mental health community, not surprisingly, was received with plenty of support and understanding.
I don't know why our family is the way it is. It used to make me feel angry and insecure, like we had done something wrong. So many parents, and more specifically mothers, work full time. This was one week out of an entire summer that I will be home, with the kids. But it's okay. Because what works for one family, or even one child, may not work for another. I guess we all just need to continue trying to do what feels right, and... just keep swimming. Can you tell we all just saw, and loved, Finding Dory?!