My daughter and I volunteered at our local animal shelter this morning. She just finished her first week of school, so I was pleasantly surprised when she asked me if we could go volunteer at the shelter on Saturday morning.

When I was a teenager, I jealously guarded my Saturday mornings. The only thing that would reliably get me out of bed during that (personally) sacred time was work with a paycheck attached. I was definitely more selfish than my daughter is.

Back to school is a bittersweet time for me. As a mother, I know that a crucial task is teaching and encouraging independence, but the start of another school year reminds me of how finite anyone’s growing up really is. The best part of this time is noticing that my daughter does not suffer from the same insecurities and massive ego I had when I was her age.

For my daughter, school is more like a job than an epic battle of intelligence and approval that it was for me. I was equally obsessed with my grades and unattainable males. She doesn’t care about her class rank. She just gets her work done and closes the mental door on school until the bus comes to pick her up again. She doesn’t notice a boy unless he talks to her and has no interest in dating at this time. This is the complete opposite of how I was. When I was her age, I wasted a massive amount of energy on boys who had no interest in me.

I am so relieved that my daughter is growing into a young woman who is far more confident and sane than I was.

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