She’s a little lost right now.

She’s lost a good chunk of her freshman year, connections with her teachers, learning in the way that’s best for her.

She’s lost a soccer season and homecoming and a lot of high school firsts.

She’s lost social gatherings and new friendships and celebrations.

She’s lost hours sitting in front of a screen. 

She’s lost a little bounce in her step. She’s lost a little sparkle in her eyes.

She doesn’t complain much. She gets it.

But as we received the news last night that her school would be going back to remote learning, I thought she would lose it completely.

I thought I would see tears and complaints and grief. We’re living in a world with impossible choices with outrageous expectations put on all of us. It seems too much for a 14-year-old to manage.

That’s the funny thing about kids, though. You just never know how they will respond to something. 

When I told her the news, she just nodded her head and said, “Yeah, we all knew it was coming. It will be OK, Mom.”

And in that moment, I realized that she’s lost so much, but sometimes I forget she’s gained a little bit, too.

She’s gained some resiliency that I don’t think was there before. Life may have been a little too easy, so she knows she can weather some storms now.

She’s gained some life skills, like learning how to cook a few meals and write a grocery list and how a clove of garlic is not the same as a bulb of garlic. She has learned how to advocate for herself with her teachers. She has learned how to say no in some difficult situations.

She’s gained a new ability to find ways to be by herself. She’s taken up sewing and cooking and still loves a good TikTok. 

She’s gained opportunities to be a kid again.

She rode her bike all over town on warm, sunny days.  She asks to play board games late into the night. She makes us watch Disney movies we haven’t seen in years, and when she catches us laughing she exclaims, “See, I knew you’d like it.”

She’s gained perspective about the world around her, and her place in it. She knows we are lucky, she knows we should be grateful. She knows she is just a small piece of something much bigger than herself.

She’s gained a close bond with her siblings that I can’t imagine will ever break. She’s gained hours of quality time with her parents that I’m not sure she appreciates as much, but she may one day down the road.

And even though I will continue to worry about her academics and mental health and relationships, I can’t ignore that she gained a little, grew up a little, during this difficult time, too.

It going to be harder this time around to stay positive, to stay focused, to keep her eyes on the horizon instead of getting stuck in the disappointment of now.

She’s lost so much. But I know her heart grew bigger.

And maybe that’s enough to get us through.

PS – Teachers are dealing with distance learning and teaching on Zoom and all the unknowns that came with this school year—and they’re sure rising to the challenge, aren’t they?

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a communications consultant, and blogger. She tries to dispel the myth of being a typical suburban mom although she is often driving her minivan to soccer practices and attending PTA meetings. She writes about parenting, relationships, and w(h)ine on her blog Playdates on Fridays.