I don't know anything about middle school but from what I understand it is a training camp for terrorists. When your child gets ready to go, they should have a huge poster of a happy little fifth grader, all open-smile, eye-brows up, giggle, hiccups, ray of sunshine next to one of an eighth grader, mouth set tight, eyebrows, down, bottled up rageful FURY, just so you know what you're getting into. You need to be prepared for the training that takes place there, that your child will have day after day of extreme humiliation, pain and grief. Now and then there might be a moment of laughter and joy but don't be fooled, it means nothing. If life outside of school is difficult, forget about it. There is no life outside of school.
I did not know about this. I went to an all girls private school where we picked daisys and danced around a maypole; we got in trouble for running in the halls or chewing gum in class. At middle school here, the students throw gum at their teachers, they say FUCK in front of their teachers, they run down the hall, knock someone down, and keep GOING. And this is in the valley; right around the corner from a goddam Whole Foods.
I've had to completely change my strategy of parenting.
Darla comes home from school and she is crying. I can't ask her what's wrong because that is annoying-go away-I hate you. But I can't help myself, What's wrong bubby?
Some guy told me I have a big forehead and everyone laughed.
Did you punch him in his fat fucking face?
Did you tell him people with big foreheads have bigger brains??
Yeah, that was a really convincing argument. (She continues to cry).
Maybe you can rent your forehead out for advertising.
"People do that", I say but I do as I'm told. What's wrong with people. Why do we lash out when we feel insecure? Every single person in the world has to struggle. Isn't that enough? Why does it take so much time to get a perspective. I look in the mirror. I have a big forehead too, as do all the women in my family. It's a drag but we deal with it.
I realize that's a good motto for middle school.
I write I love you on my forehead and go look for Dar.