Monday, August 03, 2015

On Befriending the Awkward Kid...

With my own children deep into the drama-fest that is middle school, I've been thinking a lot about my own middle school (grades 5-8) experiences.  For the most part I think we can all agree that middle school is a form of torture for most kids (although Skyler seems to be kicking its ass).  I mostly have memories of being shy and awkward and not fitting in.  The more these thoughts crossed my mind, the more I thought about one person who absolutely made a difference in my life. Someone who did the thing I always beg my kids to do...she talked to me.  She invited me to sit with her at lunch.  She didn't see a reason to consider me the awkward weird kid that I felt that I was.  We're both 41 years old now and I still remember her kindness as transformative.

I've mentioned here before how shy I was as a child.  I always had a book in my face, a. because books are awesome, and 2. because it was a defense implemented to set a wall between me and other people.   In seventh grade, I had English class with Mrs. Maguire (everyone loved her - where is she now?), and was seated behind Melanie.  She was smart and pretty and all the boys loved her.  But the best part was that she'd turn around in her seat and talk to me.  My immediate defense was to think "is she making a joke of me?  Can I  really just sit and chat with her?"  I was cautious for a long time.  I wasn't quite sure what to think but loved the idea that I could be one of her friends. Then one day, as I was coming out of the line in the cafeteria, she waved to me and asked me to sit with her and her friends.  I adopted the deer-in-headlights stance and wanted so badly for her to mean it although I was terrified of being made fun of in some way.  But I did it, I sat at her table.  I became friends with her and her friends.  I finished off my middle school years a lot less awkward and ready to tackle high school, a bit of confidence and a group of friends you are comfortable with can do that for a kid.

Though Melanie moved away at the end of eighth grade (or before?), I have always remembered her for this kindness.  I give her credit for the teen I became, who had a lot more confidence and much more armor against the idea that "you aren't good enough" and when those didn't work I was able to fake it.  I have never thanked her for this although I have thought of it often, mostly when I'm telling my kids that they should always befriend the new kid, ask a quiet loner to sit with them at lunch, and just know that everyone has something going on and none of us are ever as confident and "cool" as we are perceived to be and that you will be remembered for your kindness and the fact that you made a difference in another kid's life.

Thanks to the wonders of facebook I am friends with Melanie and I enjoy watching her raise her beautiful daughter and laugh with her at the stupid things we all post to our pages.

I'm going to post this and send the link to Melanie and you know what?  I still feel a tiny bit like I'm emailing one of the cool kids.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Turning Twelve...

My all time favorite thing in February is of course Skyler.  There were big happenings for us this week.  Yesterday she, my baby child, turned 12.  And then I became the know-nothing-irritating mother that all teens complain about.  It was almost magical how I transformed overnight.

Knowing she was scheduled to have a half-day of school on her birthday, Skyler asked if I would take her and her bestie to the mall when I got home.   She vehemently did not want her brother to be in the same mall that she was in.  I vetoed that explaining that she would just have to breath the same air and get over it.  We got to the mall, had lunch, she and her friend consulted their magical network of friends and discovered that two other besties were IN THA HOUSE (they probably didn't say that, I'm so old and lame).  I agreed that they could go off together if they agreed to check in.  And just like that poof, they were gone. I'm so glad Zack did come with us because I had someone to hang with.  I wasn't just the pathetic teen-taxi-driver my daughter thought that I was.

You see only a blur they were off that fast.

The last picture is when I said it was time to go, she turned her back to me to consult her friends as though theirs was the final say.  Oy.

We discovered this day, that she is of equal height to me and not even close to done growing.  I'm the short one in the family, further diminishing my weight as an authority.  It's a different experience telling your taller-than-you child that they will do as you say "or else".  We all have this air of "we'll do it because you're Mom, but 'or else' what?"  As though, if they were to challenge me, what would I do?  My primary currency is the iPhone.  Threaten to take that away and they might just offer up a limb in trade.

After the phone call that made mothers all over our city grown with pain at the fact that school was closed again on Friday making this an entire unplanned week of "vacation" Matt spontaneously suggested that Skyler invite her friends to sleep over.  This one and that one?  Yes sure.  And this one and that one?  Yes sure.  He assured me that he was in control, he had this, I need not worry.  He speaks Skyler better than I do these days.   Not a minute after they arrive, Matt was struck sick with stomach pain so fierce he was writhing on the floor.  It's something I might have pulled myself if I had been left in charge of five little eye-rollers but I think he might not have been faking.

As the girls were settling down for a movie marathon, they began with their nightly rituals of tooth brushing and face washing and they all came into my room to show me the special lotion and face wash that H had.  I said "oh yes, I've told you to wash your face every night using..."  "MOM - I want this one.  The same one that H has.  Here take our picture with it."

So, although every teen I've known for the past 30 years has been using Neutrogena and I have suggested it to Skyler before, now that this particular formulation in this particular bottle has been best friend approved, she will wash her face with it nightly.  I'm going to have to start manipulating the friend influence somehow.

The good thing is that my dear thinks-she's-grown-girl has the very best of friends.  I know this because four of them slept on my living room floor last night and just as when they were tiny babes  and we looked over them thinking how adorable they were when they slept, this morning I too looked at these creatures who had given me a thousand eye rolls just yesterday and thought "awww aren't they sweet".

Happy Birthday dear Skyler.  I hope we both make it to the other side of the teen years with our sanity in tact.

yeah that's my kid licking her friend

#favoritethingsfebruary #skyler #twelve #birthday #sleepover #mall

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Walking...and Shame...

Meghan Trainor.  I shouldn't have to say anything else to explain why she's a favorite in February but...I like to hear myself talk.  I'm sure you've heard her song All About That Bass on the radio thingy or iTunes or everywhere, it's everywhere.  I looked up her wiki page and I like that she's a young (21) female entertainer who actually started her career writing songs for other artists before she decided to record her own album.  You go on with your bad self Meghan.

I am LOVING her album titled Title (is that right? I think so).

I particularly like (all the songs but) Walk of Shame.

What?  You're telling me you've never?  Liar!

#favoritethingsfebruary #meghantrainor #mtrain #title

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Stay Weird New Hampshire...

I am NOT doing a lovey dovey Feb 14 post because Hallmark is not a favorite thing of February.

I'm missing home lately (although I wouldn't want to visit at the moment as my mother reports that there is snow right up to her windows). New Hampshire comedy is a favorite thing this month. Winter in New England is accurately described here:

I find the following clip particularly funny (in a dark way) because I happen to come from one of those hardy New England families that have the stubborn kind of drunk that managed to get himself arrested for a DUI TWICE in ONE day.  Lovely huh?  Yeah that was on the front page of the newspaper.  No one recognized the family name <---that all="" e="" got="" nbsp="" ousins.="" p="" right="" s="" sarcasm.="" them="" ve="">

If you're from New England you will heartily appreciate this music video and will likely recognize every single reference:

Crazy New Hampshire,  you're the Florida of the north.

#favoritethingsfriday  #newhampshire #justinmckinney #jayzparody 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Notorious RBG...

I so love this Ruth Bader Ginsburg headline on Jezebel today:

I 'Wasn't 100% Sober' During State of the Union

Ha!  How can you not love her?  My friend Rachael said "SCOTUS, they're just like us" and I couldn't agree more.  RBG rocks all kinds of things including having the balls to say "Hey, I'm 81 and I can't be expected to stay awake after my bedtime and a glass of wine so suck it"

Thanks for fighting the good fight, RGB!  I can't wait to hear all you have to say this spring!

#favoritethingsfebruary #rbg #scotus #ruthbaderginsburg #jezebel #stateoftheunionwine
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