Oil on canvas, 8x24
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Yesterday, my granddaughter Samantha turned 18. It was a bittersweet birthday, I think, for her and for our daughter Erika, Samantha's mother.
Samantha herself has been looking forward to her legal adulthood for a while, and talking enthusiastically about it - until a few days ago. Spiritually, philosophically, she wants to be an adult, but faced with it, she seems to realize that she is not.
I hope, for her sake, that this doubt continues.
Samantha has vast potential, but so far, has shown only glimmers of it. After dropping out of school two years ago, after fighting and other issues ended her up in trouble with the law, she worked desultory jobs for six months and saw precisely what a dead end road she was walking. She returned to school and for the first time in her life, applied herself. She made the honor roll, and even more excitingly, found that she loved learning. It was a marvelous stretch for all of us.
But then the old Samantha kicked in, and she began finding fault with teachers, and becoming the victim, and then she couldn't manage to get herself to school, and so it all slid back into crumbles, and she dropped out, months from graduation.
Erika decided, rightly, I think, to take herself out of the situation. She'd done it all once, truancy court, halfway houses, school administrators, special programs, the constant pushing and pushing and pushing. This last time, Samantha was 17, and Erika had had enough.
So my now 18-year-old granddaughter is a high school dropout, living at home, looking for a job, and facing a life with issues and problems and dangers she has never imagined.
Erika's adolescence was anything but smooth. But now, she is living well, doing well, and appreciating every bit of it. In all honesty, Peter didn't find himself until he was in his 30s. So I continue to hope for Samantha, and to pray for her, and to make myself available as a grandparent and friend. At this point, I believe, that is all I can do.