Monday, August 13, 2012

Home Library & High School

In my effort to finish (finally) unpacking the boxes in the basement, I hit upon a practical solution for the many (many!) boxes of children's books: I would annex the guest bedroom as a children's library. This was perfect on a couple of levels: 1) there's no more space in the main library, what was a formal living room; 2) the guest room is right next to Diana's room, so she might actually read the books. It's been particularly confounding and a little heartbreaking that she, unlike both of her parents, is rather indifferent to books. She has certain books that she has loved until they fell apart, and her favorite books have mostly been alphabet and picture vocabulary books, but she's not the voracious reader we both are. I tried to read to her when she was small, but she wouldn't sit still and listen, and would chatter over me. Since she didn't seem interested, I gave up. (Perhaps if I had persisted, the outcome would have been different.)

When we packed up the house to move, the first thing we packed was the books. Those went to a storage locker and were brought to the new house once we got some more bookshelves to put them on (we had more books than we could shelve at the old house, many never made it out of the garage from the first move). Once we got the library set up, it was pretty clear there was no room for kids books, so they've sat in the basement for two years.

When I got the idea to put bookcases in the guestroom and use it for a children's library, I wasn't sure if my husband was going to groove on the idea, but he didn't even hesitate and said that was fine. I bought two tall and one short Sauder bookcases and started hauling books from the basement to the second floor. I use LibraryThing to keep track of our collection, so I took my little netbook up so I could add books to the database as I went. A few times, Diana would come upstairs and poke her head in to see what I was doing. The most rewarding thing was the expression of interest on her face. Well, almost the most rewarding thing. As I was nearly finished with the unpacking and shelving, she came in and sat on the floor next to a case of books that were some of her favorites and started paging through them. THAT was the best. She wasn't reading them the way I would, but she was happy and she had a book in her hands. Reading the Mama Be Good blog has given me food for thought, and not imposing my expectations on Diana, letting her be her, has been a reinforcing message there. (So thanks, Brenda, if you see this; that warm-fuzzy moment was nudged along by you!)


Unfortunately, because it is the nature of parenting, my warm-fuzzy feeling evaporated into worry and anxiety: today she starts high school. She "didn't qualify" for summer school, so she and I have been in each others' pockets all summer. (She was tested before and after Christmas break to determine if she was retaining things she had learned. Since her test scores indicated that she was retaining information, she didn't need summer school according to the school district. We will not be doing that again next summer.) Theoretically, I should be uncorking the champagne or doing handsprings down the middle of the street. Unfortunately, all I can think about are the million and one things that could go wrong. She's vulnerable. All teenage girls are vulnerable, don't get me wrong; the risks for being female are pretty huge, even in a supposedly civilized first world country. But Diana is vulnerable in ways that make me lose sleep, and most high school boys are barely human. And now she's going to be surrounded by them...

At least that's the image in my head. It's (probably) not a true one, because she'll be in a small, self-contained classroom, not mainstreamed, and her exposure to the school's general (neurotypical) population will be less than what I am imagining. As her mother, I worry. Because I know her better than anyone, I worry. Because I know that teenagers today are not like teenagers when I was one, I worry. I will be on tenterhooks until she gets off that bus this afternoon, and I can attempt to gauge her mood to see how the day went.

I've tried to dial it all back as best I can so it didn't telegraph to her and make her anxious; I don't know how well I succeeded. Every parent worries. I know this. But I am not "every parent" and she's not just some child, she's mine, and "worry" is kind of a tepid word for me right now. I'll probably settle down in a week or so. Probably...

2 comments:

Sharon said...

I am right there with you. Will be anxiously awaiting a post on fb as to how she seems when she gets home. Do you think the new teacher will be as good about reporting to you?

Wendy said...

NO idea. She seems nice, but it remains to be seen how much communications there will be between school and home. And I have to remember, D's not her only student. *sigh*