The combination of words + photography have been on my mind a lot this week and I've been very emotional about recapturing that part of my life. This story just spilled out when I saw this photo and I'm reminding myself that scrapbooking can just be this simple. Words + photos = the story of our lives.
Every day, I'm reminded how little time I have left before our house gets a bit emptier. Since she got her driver's license, Emily's world has expanded and her independence has dramatically increased. Along with that freedom comes the opportunity to start making more and more of her own decisions and so my role in her life is slowly changing.
I no longer need to tell her or suggest to her what to do and how to do it. I'm becoming more of an advisor and sounding board and she doesn't need me as involved in her day-to-day life as I used to be. And I'm doing my best to honor her needs yet also make sure that she's prepared to be on her own in 18 months. It's all about finding that balance and making sure I don't miss any teachable moments.
She recently went on a field trip with her AP science class and was put in a fearful situation. An instructor at the facility they visited mocked her about her fear and then physically intimidated her. It's the kind of intimidation that happened a lot to me as a kid, too, and it infuriates me. Basically, he decided that being fearful was "wimpy" and that the way to "cure" the behavior was to attempt to physically force her into a situation that frightened her.
That kind of intimidation is one of the hardest to stand up to because you're already scared and then the physical intimidation creates panic. It's taken me well into adulthood to learn how to handle that and I knew that this was something that could be helpful to us both if we dealt with it together instead of letting her handle it on her own.
I called the supervisor of that facility and explained that what could have been a teachable moment and a wonderful learning experience for a bright young woman had turned into a threatening situation. How awesome it could have been if that instructor had acknowledged her fear and showed her ways that she could overcome it instead of humiliating her and then trying to physically control her. He turned an educational opportunity into a situation about him and his desire to control. And I don't ever want my kids (but especially my girls) to think that that's okay.
The outcome is a good one - the supervisor was appalled and apologized and agreed that it had now become a teachable and trainable moment for her and her staff. And I hope that maybe I set an example for Emily and she can learn something from it.
But more than anything, I hope that I still find these teachable moments and do the right thing while I still have her at home with me.