It’s been nine days so far. Nine days of my sixth grade daughter complaining about how much she hates middle school and nine days of me telling her that it’s going to get better soon. Look, I’ve been to middle school (or, as they called it in my pre-historic days: Junior High) and I know I’m lying. I know it’s not going to get a hell of a lot better anytime soon. Middle school is just a sucky time of life. It’s a time of mean teachers and mean students and trying to fit in when you feel like you never will. It’s a time of insecurities and pimples and body hair and breast buds and painful unreturned crushes. In sum, it’s hell.
In these short nine days, my delicate little flower of a daughter has been yelled at by a yard aid because she tried to visit her locker before school (who knew you had to wait until the first bell? Btw, isn’t it cute the way they call it “visit” their locker? It’s like it’s a distant relative in town from Schenectady). She was also humiliated when she accidentally went to her math class in her gym clothes because she was confused by “backwards day” (every Tues. and Thurs. they switch around the periods just to add more anxt to their already overly hormonal and dramatic lives). And I can actually see her spine start to curve because of the enormous amount of weight she’s forced to carry around in her backpack. We weighed it. With books it weighs 30 pounds. My daughter weighs 65. The poor thing is like a dung beetle schlepping around a gynormous piece of pooh…in the valley heat to boot! Today, it’s predicted to reach 104 degrees!
So yes. I lie to my child. I tell her things are going to get better. I try to spin things in a positive light. Just this morning when I was dropping her off and she was pleading not to go, I said, “It’s just like jumping into a cold pool. Once you’re in, you’ll get used to it.” “No” she said in return. “It’s like jumping into a cold pool that never warms up and stays bitter cold all day long. And I’m forced to stay in that cold pool all alone freezing and shivering until you pick me up.” Do I feel horrible? Absolutely. Do I drop her off anyway? Absolutely. I know if I don’t, my only option is homeschooling and that’s a bitter cold pool that I’m not jumping into anytime soon. Besides, maybe she’s just being overly dramatic. I wonder who she could have gotten that from?