To be honest, Shaylyn really wasn’t a difficult teenager. She had her moody moments and sometimes they were so ridiculous I had to try really hard not to laugh in her face, but on the whole she wasn’t hard or obstinate. She was a good kid and tried hard to do the right thing.
Jr. High became an interesting place for her. She’s always been a quick learner and things just seem to click in her mind. She was good at doing her homework, but not so great at getting it turned in. She once had a teacher tell her, “Doing your homework and not turning it in is like going to work and not cashing your paycheck.” There were times she didn’t get her homework done, but somehow always managed to pass her tests with flying colors. She once told me that it’s because homework is boring, especially when she knows the stuff. With math it was more frustrating because teachers want you to show work, but she’s one of those people that can see the problem and solve it in her head. Breaking it down is frustrating and hard. She had a math teacher tell me that she should think about moving to a more challenging math class, but to not think about it too hard because he liked having her in his class. Even with the issues she did have in Jr. High she still managed to get a Student of the Week Award in History in 8th grade and finished out that year with an award for being on the Honor Roll.
The homework issue would continue into high school. At times she was good getting it turned in, other times it didn’t happen. One of her high school teachers told me, “I know she knows this stuff because she’s aces her tests, but I don’t have any assignments to give her a grade for.” There were other factors at work during some of this time, and I’ll mention it a bit later.
Shaylyn finally got the chance to delve into the Chinese culture more when she finally got to take Chinese. She took Chinese every year that she could and seemed to grasp it almost instantly. She almost had the chance to go to China with a teacher and as an organized trip, but there just wasn’t enough interest to make it feasible for those who were interested. Shaylyn took that news pretty hard and it took a little bit for her to get over that disappointment.
Another thing her teen years brought about was the chance to delve deeper into music and instruments. For a good portion of her life she took piano and it was another thing that just came easy to her. But when Jr. High came about, she decided she wanted to learn the flute. She played the flute in band for a couple of years, but then when the band teacher decided to be a jerk (the guy wouldn’t even sign the paper to let her transfer classes until her clothing fee was paid in full. We got the counselor to go to bat for us.), she transferred out and decided to join chorus in the same period as Tanis. Her senior year just happened to start at a brand new school and she spearheaded a music production club. She also took Percussion and a guitar class so she could learn to play the guitar Santa had brought her a few years earlier.
Art really became her main focus as she got older. She discovered her style and found it really was something she enjoyed and something she wanted to make a career. She decided she wanted to be an art teacher (she has since changed her plans, slightly) and made sure she was taking classes to help her along that path. Though I do think she has some natural talent, she will insist that she had to figure it out and actually had to teach herself how to do it. In elementary school she was jealous of other kids that could draw and so she set out learning how to do it.
She would have 3 different jobs in the course of her teenage years. She first started at the movie theater and after awhile she decided she wanted to move on to something different. She applied at a couple places, but was finally hired at Dairy Queen. After graduation, she decided she needed something different and after hearing back from practically no one, she finally got a job at The Children’s Place.
During her Junior year she would have a falling out with *Teryn. Another friend would cause a rift between Shaylyn and Teryn and Shaylyn chose (although a hard choice) to remove herself from the situation and focus on other friends. It was hard for Shaylyn and she really struggled with school during this time. After a bit of time went by, Shaylyn was able to let hard feelings go and talk it out a bit with Teryn. They’re not as close as they once were, but Teryn is still an important piece of Shaylyn’s story.
When it came to driving, we signed her up for the class and she did great. She had no troubles on the range, but always had some sort of struggle on the road. Her dad, Eric took her out a few times and we thought she had it. But when it came time for the test, the instructor yelled at her and very rudely said, “Yeah, I can’t pass you.” It broke her spirits and she didn’t feel comfortable enough to try again for another year and a half or so. Thankfully, Eric got her out a bit more in that time and she was able to pass. Then COVID hit and she had to wait a few months to actually get her driver’s license, but she was excited when she did.
I was both excited and nervous for her. She ran some errands occasionally and was always good to take her younger siblings for quick runs to the gas station or something. She would pick Lex up from work or drop him off and it just made my life a little easier. She once took her little sister and baby brother to her work to buy some pajamas. I was super nervous the whole time, but they came back and I felt relieved. I was nervous every time she walked out the door and drove out of the driveway. I’ve always felt nervous with the idea of my kids behind the wheel because you never know what might happen.
*NAME CHANGED TO PROTECT IDENTITY