Here is my first uploaded photo from a very unexpected "happy equinox" present from my dear supportive husband. I will read the directions and learn how to make the best use of it on my travels. I'll be in Florida for the next few days to watch N. play softball with her college team.
These international teenagers emphasize the point to me that we're all fighting the same life battles. As in all groups of teenagers, there are the confident, popular members of the group, the cliques, the joiners, the uncertain quiet ones, the very forward and the very shy, the ones who get left out of plans and the ones who make them. Many of them grasp on to social connections intensely, like a life raft in a stormy sea of insecurity. Others are content to float around and grab on to whatever piece of flotation happens to pass by. And still others float on their own without holding on to anything - but you can see them wondering if they should want to hold on to something, since everyone else is. All the while they are continuously sizing each other up, to see if they might find a new ally, a better raft to climb aboard, a new captain for their own.
I get knots in my stomach just remembering how painful and enormously powerful all of those social interactions were. They are happy kids, but they're all figuring out their roles, how they fit in, who they are; negotiating the interplay between their inside selves and their outside selves.
It was pretty fun to hang around with kids from a dozen or so different countries these last few days, but it was a big job - no naps. I'm pretty wiped out. At a school event last night I thought I was doing all right until someone said I looked exhausted. Suddenly I felt exhausted. Never underestimate the power of suggestion.