When I was in middle school? It pretty much sucked.
I wore really horrible glasses. My family, being dirt-ass poor, could not afford any fine and shiny glasses for me. Even if they could? I really do not recall any fine and shiny glasses being available in 1986. I had the really HUGE coke-bottlesque glasses with my INITIALS IN GOLD on one side of the lens. Imagine the sexiness of that, if you will.
In addition? I was pretty much hideously ugly.
(And I don't want to hear it. I'm not fishing when I say that. I was FUGLY.)
I was, at various times, madly in love with various boys. None of which even knew I existed. When my cousin visited last weekend she reminded me a letter which I had sent her, probably around that time period, which said something along the lines of "Here is a list of boys whose shoes I drool upon and who don't know I exist". Even if they knew who I was, they didn't like me like that. Some of them are my Facebook friends now and I marvel that I had such good judgement, even back in middle school, because they have largely grown into a really fine group of men. And by fine I don't just mean looks. I mean, they are good men. Good fathers. Good providers. Nice, nice men. (Sadly, this judgement did not extend to my first marriage. But whatever)
My best friend became friends with my worst enemy. My worst enemy used to be my best friend. Middle school changed everything and I cried, more times than I care to remember, about how badly it hurt to lose someone I cared so much about. I didn't know then that I was practicing. That you lose people all the time. That people I really loved and cared about would completely disappear from my life...without a second thought and without a trace.
I didn't know it when I was twelve, though. I wish I would have.
Because now I'm the mom of two middle schoolers and y'all? It's hard. It's really hard.
I went to a small middle school. I knew the vast majority of the kids in my school since we were in kindergarten. Many of them knew each other since they were in diapers. Their families knew each other. They still live there. They are raising their kids there. THEIR kids know each other.
I was a Girl Scout and I had friends. We had slumber parties. I knew people who liked to read, like I did. Who played with Barbies and giggled when Mrs. Lester talked about sex in health class. (Oddly, I remember her also teaching art, but maybe that's because the years have dimmed my memory) Many of them aren't my friends anymore, but that's okay. We grew up and we grew apart and I'm an adult now and get that it's okay that things like that happen.
My children go to a school with 1200 other kids. A lot of them? Are mean and scary. And I mean that they are mean and scary to me. And I'm a grown-ass woman. Presumably.
My daughter found out today that she has to get glasses and she, all eighty pounds of dimples and hormones is devastated. Because kids will make fun of her. They already make fun of her because she's quiet and reads a lot. This will be another way she is different. Another opportunity for her to be picked on.
I tell her those kids suck. That they aren't important. That kids will find something, anything to make fun of other kids about. Because they SUCK. Not because there is anything wrong with her.
I don't know if she gets that. I don't know how to make her understand.
She's such a beautiful, sweet girl. She doesn't let anyone walk all over her. She never has.
But I wonder. How much does she hold inside? How much of this hurts her? Does she cry in the shower or lay awake at night, worrying?
Maybe it's just me. Because the nights are long, so very long, for the momma.