It hasn’t been much of a secret that I am not completely loving this whole middle school thing. Missy lives in constant chaos of late assignments, missing homework, sleep deprivation and tears. I am in a 12-step program for my addiction to the online grading system. We both should have been “transitioned” by now, but it has been anything but a smooth ride.
We have revamped her organizational system three times: To Keep or Not to Keep the Trapper Keeper. That is the question.
Her first phone was lost or swiped. Or misplaced and picked up by some other kid who then used it to call our house. (I have always wondered what a kid would do with a found phone and why the parents wouldn’t be like, “Hey, where the hell did that phone come from?”)
The replacement phone was lost during a play practice that resulted in stopping the production. The entire cast and crew searched under the seats and in their backpacks as Missy sobbed. (I’m sure the director was impressed by her theatrics.) Later that night, she found the phone shoved inside one of her folders.
The phone was “stolen” a few weeks later. Fortunately the thief brought it back and put it in the cup holder of our van. It might have been the same robber who returned her Spanish binder to the classroom and colored pencils to the back of her locker. What a coincidence.
She’s come home without coats, hats, homework, books, important papers and pants. Yes, her leggings were swiped/lost while she was at gym class.
And thanks to a few snotty girl comments, Missy lost the most important thing she owned: her confidence. I used it as a Teachable Moment and blurted out that sometimes girls were little bitches in middle school. Not my proudest parenting move and certainly not my last. I was simply at a loss to explain why people get off by being cruel.
But one of the worst days was when she came home in tears because she got in trouble during lunch. Apparently the lunch supervisors have a signal for the kids to stop talking when it’s time to clean up and go to the next class. Missy and her girlfriend were shushing another friend so she wouldn’t get into trouble and they got busted instead.
They had to stand against the wall and were instructed that they were to be seated separately at the Bad Tables for the next five lunch periods. Missy was completely mortified and beside herself. I am not sure what upset her more: the embarrassment of it all or the fact that she couldn’t socialize with her gal pals.
I told her to make the best of it and pack a trashy magazine in her lunch box.
At lunch, she sat down at the Bad Table and started to unpack her food and Tiger Beat. Out of nowhere, one of her buddies slipped into the seat next to her and said, “I don’t care if I get into trouble for sitting with you. We’ll have my mom take it to the principal!”
Missy then ran her magazine to the friend at the other Bad Table so she could have something to pass the time.
The next day, a few more of their friends crossed the Bad Table Picket Line and sat with both girls. Missy was elated by the support. By the end of the week, their group of friends was split between the Bad Tables. Eating their lunch in solidarity with their girlfriends.
And we both learned a big lesson about Middle School.
True friends can’t be lost.
Or trapped inside a folder.
They are right next to you — giggling at the Bad Table.
A good friend will come and bail you out of jail… but a true friend will be sitting next to you saying, “Damn… that was fun!”
I still have a Visa receipt from bailing my girlfriend out of a police station. We have been friends since we were around Missy’s age…
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