She graduated summa cum laude, but before the day we applauded her achievements there were approximately 36 months of fatigue and perseverance and anxiety that preceded them. She would come home exhausted, grab a snack, and head straight up to her room. For three or four hours she would labor meticulously over homework. We would have to make her come downstairs to eat dinner.
And since she was a girl, there were lots of tears to go with those hard days of work.
We had a large ottoman in the living room at the time, and when things got bad she would stand at the end of it and do a full face plant on top of it, with arms flung out to the side in total exhaustion and despair.
We found that adorable.
Here's what I learned as a mom –you can't do the work for your kid. Of course, for me that partly included my lack of intelligence and the fact that I had not been able to help her with schoolwork since about third grade.
Our kids have to go through their hard times of struggle and labor, and we need to let them do this.
But we can come alongside them, kind of like a chase vehicle in a bike race. So here are some things I did to encourage my children through their hard days...
1. Quietly open the door, without saying anything, and put a plate full of hot chocolate chip cookies on the desk next to her. Don't forget the milk. (Really, this is all it takes to receive mother-of-the-year award.)