Saturday, March 07, 2009

My poor niece

She's flunking German. I think it's an ugly language, but that's not the point. She's been a good student for so very long -- now a sophomore in high school, she's been on the honor roll since 6th grade. She's especially driven now because she understands how important good grades are to her getting the grant money she expects to need for college.

She's not doing well in school because her posse has defected on her. She has been the alpha dog/leader of the pack among her coterie since grammar school. When they all got into high school, she was able to maintain her leadership role. But it was hard. Other grade schools fed into the high school and her friends were distracted by many other new students they were just meeting. Especially Courtney and Jan. My niece feels that Courtney and Jan are frivolous, goofy, superficial, silly ... She drew a line in the sand: If you want to hang around with Courtney and Jan, you cannot spend time with her.

Guess what. No one walks home from school with my niece anymore. Her social schedule, which used to be jam packed, is now empty. Her phone doesn't ring at all over the weekend.

She's devastated. Her gal pals have chosen Courtney and Jan over her.

She's been crying a great deal. Her grades are clearly suffering. She's in so much pain. I can't discuss it with her because she doesn't know her mother has compared notes with me and my mom. If she was aware of how aware we are, my niece would die of embarrassment.

Her friends aren't dissing her. There's no organized conspiracy to exclude her. In a way, this was her choice -- she's the one who decided that no social gathering was big enough for her, Courtney and Jan. But she's unwilling or unable to rescind her stand about these two.

But it's still painful for her. A tough way to learn a lesson about trying to control others.

The teen years are rough. (Actually mine were unbearable.) It's hard to figure out who we are and where we fit in the world.

I love my niece. She's funny and thoughtful and respectful to my mom and me. She's very good student, too (that F in German aside). But she's not wise, and I don't see how I can help her. She's gonna have to learn these hard lessons on her own.

Saturday 9 -- Your Bestest Day

Saturday 9: Your Bestest Day

1. What one day of your life do you think was your best day? Hard to choose just one. The first one that pops into my mind was the morning I was awakened, pre-dawn, because the man I loved was holding me sooo tight as he slept. I was so happy to be with that man, in his arms, at that moment. A beautiful way to start the day

2. What one day of your life do you think was your worst day? November 3, 2004. The day after John Kerry lost the Presidential Election. I'd devoted nearly a year and a lot of my own money to that most worthy cause and I could not believe it ended as it did. What's worse, my beloved cat Billy had been diagnosed with bone cancer and I had to make the awful decision about putting him down. My entire world felt dark and ugly and wrong for months after that.

3. If you had to pick the best year of your life, when was it and why? My 35th. I was in love, my career was taking off, and I was in terrific shape. Ah, those were the days!

4. If you had to pick the worst year of your life, when was it and why? My 30th. A long-term, very tumultuous relationship ended and socially, romantically and professionally I was starting over.

5. Most recently, what night did you do something that you loved? Last month my friend Barb and I went to see Grease with Taylor Hicks.

6. Most recently, what night did you do something that you hated? Tuesday, 2/24, when I prepared for last month's festivities. Not funny. Really not fun.

7. Tell us about your best relationship that did not work out. See #1. He is a very nice man. He's just not the right man ... for me. I hope that wherever he, he's happy.

8. Tell us about your worst romantic relationship that you’ve had. See #4. Sometimes when I think about what that relationshp cost me, I am filled with regret -- and I don't want to waste my time on regret.

9. Is there a celebrity that you’d love to spend a “no hold bars” night with? One of the Bruces (Springsteen or Willis).