I guess that's not completely true. Cruel epithets were hurled handily across the quad at Laguna Hils High School or whispered quietly into my ear in Spanish class. And as an adult, I have witnessed many exchanges of unbelievable meanness.
Those mean words in junior high are the ones that really get the ball rolling though. If kids could really understand how much they tear each other down with the things they say... Can't you still hear those words from junior high? Did you eat lunch at the "cool table" or on "loner's lane"? Were you a dork, a geek, a spaz, a dog, a "butterface", a skeez, a skag, a scumbucket, a scuz, a "pizzaface", or a tard? Did anyone ever make fun of your clothes or your looks or your interests or your friends or your family? And I'm just talking about what the boys said. Good night, if I typed the words that the mean girls said... Shudder. The horror. Makes SAW seem like a family film. Not that I have seen SAW. The trailers alone gave me nightmares. Me no likey the scary movies.
Last Friday we ventured from the comforts of elementary school into the whole new world of middle school. Yes, Miss Proper will start sixth grade in nine days. I can't believe it either.
So, we went to orientation to find out the particulars. Who am I kidding? We went to get the all-important schedule. And we were disappointed. Multiple times. She did not get her first choice of electives (drama). No classes with the best friend. No classes with the second best friend. They kept saying to one another, "We still have lunch together." Sniff. I hope they do meet for lunch and continue their friendships, but experience says they won't all be friends at this time next year. There are new friends to be made and new interests to discover that somehow have the power to trump friendships based on proximity and a shared interest in video games.
We walked her schedule, and I tried to explain the importance of using either the most direct route or the least traveled route. I panicked for her a little when I realized that the passing periods are only four minutes long and in one exchange she has to go from one end of the building downstairs to the other end of the building UPSTAIRS. It brought back memories of sixth grade tardies and crowded stairwells at Bammel Middle School.
We moms gave the lesson on schedule comparing. You have to look at the course name AND the teacher. Just because you both have Pre AP World Geography fourth period, it doesn't mean you are in the same class. And that lesson dashed a little hope for a few friends who thought they were going to be able to see each other.
We scanned the hoards looking for familiar faces and found far more that we did not know. And way too many of those young ladies were wearing makeup. Lip gloss. Blush. Eye shadow. Eyeliner. MASCARA. These are eleven and twelve year old girls. Oh. My. Word. I was not prepared for the makeup. None of Miss Proper's friends wear makeup yet. Then, we checked out the boy factor, and Miss Proper declared that they were all either boys she already knew (which is apparently a synonym for "gross") or "nerdy-looking". See! Even my own sweet kid starts in with the meanness. I don't think it helped that she is several inches taller than quite a few of them.
I commented that one of her friends had gotten contacts and didn't he look nice. "I guess." Would she like to actually step foot into one of her classrooms and say hello to the teacher. "No." Should we ask if she should bring her P.E. clothes on the first day? "No."
Mommy, can we get out of here yet?
Smiles. Shoulder hug as we walked across the parking lot out to the van.
I know I can't protect her from everything, but she has such a sensitive soul, like her mama, that I can't help wanting to. And I 'm praying that she will desire the right kind of friends and be shielded from the wrong ones (Proverbs 1:10,11). If she could be entirely oblivious to the comments being made around her or about her, I would be delighted. She is my kid, afterall; people are going to be talking about her. ;)