Saturday, November 21, 2009

Nobody said it would be easy to be here.

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.


Danielle said...

LMAO - initials in gold!!!!! HA HA HA!!! OK, sorry, I have worn glasses since the 3rd grade so I can laugh at that... but seriously for a moment here - there are some really cool glasses out there these days. I bet she'll look fantastic in them! I hope no one teases her - because I also know what that is like & it royally sucks! I'll say a pray for her tonight!

elle said...

Amen sister! Now that I have a kid in jr. high (we don't have middle schools here), I've come to realize that that time just usually sucks ass and is really hard. I also had coke bottle glasses, but had mine back in 1976, when they were actually made of real glass. I had red curly hair and needed braces bad. She'll be OK, she really will. It's just part of the fabric that makes us all unique. You've raised her to be strong, and in the end, she will win. Ever notice how all the cool, mean kids never amounted to much after jr/high school?

Allie said...

Awww, poor thing. I don't know if this means anything but when I was her age I always wanted glasses, for me glasses were just another way to accessorize. I desperately wanted some cute, chic glasses to make me look smart. Even today I still am a little ticked off that I have perfect vision and don't even need reading glasses, they're just so darn cute.

Paige said...

I remember the gold initials--my best friend had them on her glasses round about that time. I remember when she got them, the teacher gave us a lecture about not making fun of her and she was serious

Poor kid--I hope you can find some pretty cool glasses for her.

Dawn~a~Bon said...

Aww hon. Are contacts an option? I got contacts when I was in 8th grade. She'll be beautiful regardless. I had pretty much the same middle experience you did (except I didn't have my initials on my glasses). It sucked royally!

AndreAnna said...

I was that girl, too.

And now I'm awesome.


Glasses now aren't nearly as big of a deal as they were then - they have such cute frames and things no - they're considered fashionable.

She's going to grow up and take over the world, you'll see.

Because she had a momma who reminded her that mean people suck. :)

Hockey Mom said...

My sweet, loving, funny, and slightly overweight 6th grader is right there too. All that I know to do, other than cry when he's not looking, is to remind him that I love him, that it will get better, and that those turds who chase him around and laugh at his man boobs don't matter. And that, should he choose to push one of those turds into the wall, I've got his back.

Anonymous said...

Both of my stepkids have had to wear glasses (oldest got contacts at 16). My stepdaughter loves her glasses. They are very stylish frames she picked out herself. She thinks it's cool to be unique and I'm so thankful that she has this attitude. There are always cruel kids in school. Learning to ignore and rise above them is part of growing up, and it will make girl child into a strong woman like her mom.

Jill said...

I teach 6-12 grade and I wear glasses because I am still (at 28) afraid to touch my eyeball to put in contacts.

A few weeks ago a student approached me and said, "Miss, we have all been discussing this and everyone agrees that you look much prettier without glasses. It is time for them to go."

And I agree about jr high. When I was in 7th grade a girl came up to me and said, "Has anyone ever told you that you look like Jennifer from Family Ties, but much uglier?" Yeah, I still remember that like it was yesterday

SJINCO said...

I've always encouraged my kids to be different, do be themselves and you know what? If someone picks on them because they stand out for their choices? So what. Those people who are being mean are just jealous.

There's no reason for kids to be mean to other kids but I know it happens, and boy are kids ever mean.

I hope your daughter picks out the coolest glasses she can find, ones that reflect her personality, ones that are just totally rad. And I hope she wears them proud - cause you know she's special and she should flaunt it. Everyone else is just jealous.

Unknown said...

I've worn glasses since grade 3...and we moved to a different city going into grade 7. I went from a fairly popular kid without a weight problem to a fat kid with almost no friends. I HATED jr. high. Hated it. But I survived and it made me stronger and more willing to look past a person's exterior. I'm likely a better person over all but it doesn't stop me from wanting to go back and kick some fashion sense into that kid. And take away her cookies.

Having said that? I watch my odd little 7 year old (and I say odd not because I think he's odd but because he just doesn't fit in with the rest of the kids at school and likely never will) and it breaks my heart. He's 7. He's going to struggle socially in school for a long, long time. I hate it. I cry about it sometimes. And even though it'll make him a better person, I still wish I could fix it for him. It is hard being a mom.


GC is so beautiful and because her mom knows from ugly glasses she will get the cutest glasses available for purchase with Momma's new raise...I bet she will look adorable

ryarosh said...

I am sooooooooooo COMPLETELY right with you. I soo incredibly hated 6th grade.. I just felt odd. I hated my glasses.. and the pimples. oh UGH!!. ( sigh.. those haven't left me..).. I digress.
Anyway, my son is now 6th.. and like his mother.. has glasses.. and pimples. I REALLY hate it for him. Even though we are homeschooling, we are involved in 2 separate homeschool coops and many activities in our large church.
I have seen that whole middle school attitude way too much around some other kids and that whole age.. ICK.. some kids can really just be mean.
I love following your blog. I wish we would have had more time in school together to get to know each other better ( versus just my Sr year )and could have kept more in touch. I feel we have much in common.
anyway.. you/your kids aren't alone. :-)

Jill said...

If she needs glasses, she does. After a couple of weeks, no one worries about it anymore. Lots of cool people have glasses. Think of someone that would be impressive to them and tell her that. You could also get contacts instead, or tell her to tell them that they are stupid and stupid can't be fixed, but she could have surgery on her eyes. Sorry momma.

Anonymous said...

My nieces, age 12, 10, and 8 go to a school where all the kids think glasses are cool. Both the 12-year old and the 8-year old recently got glasses, and they are actually showing them off!
The 10-year old is actually jealous, because she hasn't had to get them! The 12-year old was wearing fake glasses (clear lenses) before she got her real ones, because she wanted to look cool.
Maybe this phenomenon will migrate to where you live.

judy in ky said...

Anonymous (above) was me... I was signed out of Blogger.

mythoughtsonthat said...

I remember, too, those hard middle school times.
Peace to you and the girl child.

Michelle said...

Awww. I hated school for the very reason that people are just mean!

But you know what, it's OK. Because don't you think that suffering made you a better woman and mother? And your daughter will too. If she is picked on...she'll become stronger in the end. It hurts, but she too will learn to deal with pain and losing. It's one of the negative lessons we have to learn among all the positives.

I've just started following your blog and love the laughs!

Aunt Crazy said...

I'm not sure if I have ever left a comment here or not but I've been reading for quite some time. I wanted to say I hated jr high was awful. It seems so funny that all the kids want glasses these days, so tell your girl that and see if it makes her feel better. I know what it's like to not fit in and it's no fun!


Anonymous said...

yay! I LOVED Middle School. Over here in India, it's one long thing.. I mean, 12 years of continuous schooling (if you don't change schools in b/w) and I changed schools thrice but I had a lot of fun everywhere!

Um, I had glasses since the fifth grade. Nobody made fun of my glasses (they're too common here)
but EVERYONE made fun of my pigtails! Um, braids. Well, your daughter has REALLY pretty hair.. so don't worry, I don't think she'll be made fun of. :D

Christina Berry said...

I have to agree with AndreaAnna, because I too was that girl and now, I am awesome!

Childhood/middle school/high school is such a hard time to get through. But Girl Child will do it. She'll be fine.

And I'll bet there are a lot of girls who will be jealous that she has glasses and they don't!