It’s summer.

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More specifically, the school year is over. And what a year it was. I’m going to try not using the cliché catch phrases like unprecedented, in these uncertain times, we’re all in this together, or whatever else people have said about this school year. Which in my own words, was a complete shit show.

Our experience with online schooling did not go as well as we thought it would. My daughter, I will refer to her as SL, use to ask if she could be home schooled when she was younger. Some time around 4th or 5th grade. She hadn’t mentioned it since then. However, she got her chance at the end of her grade 8 year.

Geometry home school

It wasn’t just the pandemic

Even before this pandemic started, the school board teachers were on rotating strikes. All of the extra curricular activities were cancelled around the beginning of November which included all sports. For a “Sports and Wellness Academy” that was a big deal. Then to top it all off, during their March Break, we got the news that the schools would be closed for an undetermined length of time. She missed all the important experiences of her grade 8 year.

All of the dances, the senior trip, and even graduation. The sports was a tough one to handle. Her school wins banners and medals every year in a number of categories. The senior girls volleyball team normally goes very far in the competitions. The senior co-ed volleyball team had won the Division 1, city championship two years in a row. It would have been a threepeat for the school. She was one of only two grade 7 students to compete with the grade 8’s the previous year, so at least she achieved that city championship.

Five girls was all they needed

The school’s track and field team was incredible, considering the size of the school. There were only 42 kids in her grade, and they were competing against schools that had over 100 kids per grade. During her grade 7 year, there were about 40 kids, boys and girls that attended the qualifiers and around 23 made it to the conference finals. Out of those 23, quite a few went on to the city finals. And yes, SL was one of them. But the amazing achievement was already done. They had won the west conference banner for the grade 7 girls. They had also won the same banner the year before. The girls track team of her year was amazing.

The grade seven banner was the result of getting 57 points. The second place team had 32. They blew them out of the water. And the most amazing thing about this team is that the points were all made by just five girls. Yes, five girls beat out schools that had hundreds of students to pick from. Considering that each athlete was limited on the number of events they could compete in, I think they could have done even better if allowed. I won’t say what place they all came in, but I will say that they finished high in the 100m sprint, 200m sprint, 80m hurdles, the 4×100 relay, and long jump. Those were the sports that added up to 57 points. It was amazing.

It wasn’t just school

Enough of my bragging. The point I was trying to make was that the pandemic caused her to miss it all. And now that it’s summer and she has all this time on her hands, I’ve realized that it has cost her even more than experiences.

SL has always been an anxious kid. She has a hard time in new situations, new places and with new people. It makes socializing and making friends very difficult. And it is because of this that she has a very small friend circle. And by small, I mean two. She has two girls that are her “best friends”. And the pandemic has cost her those relationships as well.

She sees pictures of them out with new friends, having so much fun. And she’s at home, watching their lives on a screen. They message once in a while, saying “oh I miss you” or “we should get together soon”. But that never happens. She is left out of new friend groups. Not invited. And sometimes the things that she sees on SnapChat or Instagram seem to me, to be directed at her in a subtle way. She says that it doesn’t bother her that much. It bothers me…a lot. There are many times I have drafted a message to send to her friends but then quickly delete it. I know that getting involved in her social situations will just make things worse. So much worse. It happened once to me when I was a teenager, and I was never friends with those people after my mom called them out.

Our last summer?

Her dad says that I should just plan a lot of things to do with her over the summer, but it’s not the same. She needs friends her own age, not her mom. Keep in mind that her and I have a great relationship, in which she doesn’t mind hanging out with me. But she needs friends. I’m hoping that when school starts up again she will find it easier to join in. In the meantime I guess I should enjoy this summer for myself because being 15, I’m pretty sure this will be the last summer that we will actually hang out together.

What plans do you have for summer of 2021? Are COVID restrictions changing your plans? Let me know in the comments.

Where to get help.

If you or your child are suffering from depression or any mental health matters, please find a local organization that can help you with ways to manage. Here are just a few that might be able to help or refer you to one that can.

Canada – Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
USA – National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

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