Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Roots and Wings

Okay, so I'm fairly certain that whoever designed middle school was one twisted son of a bitch.

I expected that Girl Child would have issues. Not because of anything she's done, mind you, but based solely upon her gender. Middle school was quite unpleasant for me, what with my horrible curly mullet and coke-bottle glasses. I was ugly as mud, far too loud in all social situations, horribly awkward, and not nearly as charming as I am now. Which, if you know me, is still "not very".

It wasn't just me though. Women are mean. Teenage girls? Are brutal.

Surprisingly, or maybe not as Girl Child is quite a bit more gracious, sweet, and appropriate than I ever thought about being, she's pretty much sailed through middle school with limited issues. Recently her first boyfriend broke up with her and instead of allowing herself to get caught up in the "OH-YOU-POOR-THING-I'M-SO-SAD-OMGery" of her friends? She said, sensibly, "I'll have lots of boyfriends. It's no big deal."

I know I've said this before, many times, but Girl Child? She's kind of completely amazing.

So I was thinking we were probably okay.

I didn't realize boys annihilated each other too.

Boy Child has always been my easy kid. Compliant. Funny. Ridiculous. All of my favorite things rolled into one. Never have I met a kid so willing to do what's asked of him. Never have I ever met anyone who is always down for a spontaneous living room dance party. Never have I met another human being more willing to try.

I'm that mom, you know? I have every password. Facebook, gmail, any other place they go online. I have it. I check it. I don't monitor it religiously, but I check it. Recently I noticed that Boy Child's best friend hadn't been mentioned very much (since he dumped Girl Child, oy), and after the requisite 11 billion questions that all elicited the response, "I dunno", I decided I would just check in.

The contents of my son's gmail account made me feel physically sick.

He asked a question, a simple question, and he was attacked. Told he was a jerk. Told he was disrespectful. A bunch of other things that I was seriously, SERIOUSLY shocked would come from these kids I had come to know as his "friends". Kids I had fed, let sleep in my home, let ride in my car.

He was jumped on. Attacked. Unfriended.

My heart hurts for my Boy Child. Seriously. It physically hurts.

I tell him all the things that moms are supposed to say. I told him a story about the girl who used to be my best friend in fourth grade and how, by the time we got to seventh grade, I realized that my "friend" was a huge dick and I was actually relieved that I wasn't her friend anymore. How it's totally okay to NOT be friends with people who try to act like they are better than you, or smarter than you, or treat you like less of a person. How if you have friends who try to make you do things you don't really want to do and get mad at you when you ask a question, then they aren't really your friends in the first place.

He nodded. Said he understood. Blinked back tears.

"It doesn't really count anymore that your mom thinks you kick so much ass, does it?"

He smiled. His eyes said, "Not really" but he was kind enough not to speak it out loud.

"You want mom to learn to play StarCraft?"

He paused a moment longer than necessary to avoid hurting my feelings. "Maybe Girl Child can play with me."

I'm sure she will.

I couldn't sleep last night. I debated, Do I call their moms? I would certainly want to know if my child was behaving like an unmitigated anus so I could fix that behavior with the quickness. But in the end I decided against it. He's nearly fourteen. I cannot imagine how they would treat him if his MOMMY got involved. He's already sensitive. I don't want him to be destroyed.

When I look at my kids, I can almost clearly see how they will be as grown adult people. I've told them for as long as I can remember that this crap doesn't matter. That when you grow up you won't even remember the names of 90% of the people you have to see everyday while in school. That, yes, grades are important but quite frankly it did me absolutely no good to maintain a 4.0 in college because no one gives a damn in the real world. That I'd rather they have high self-esteem and good character than a stellar GPA. That it's nice to be important but far, far more important to be nice.

I forgot that it does matter. It matters a whole, whole lot when you are living in the middle of it. When the lunchroom is a battlefield and all your friends are now your enemies. When even moms Christmas lasagna can't make it all okay.

When you're just thirteen.


Christina Berry said...

I'm constantly amazed at how evil kids can be.

You did the right thing by not calling the other moms. My son is 21, and I swear I still have to reel myself in and not make those calls. As a mom, we want to mop up the mess but the fact is, he'll be better for cleaning it up himself.

Tell Boy Child that he's in my prayers. God's got this.

Bethany said...

I hate young teens. They don't realize the power they have to annihilate each other. Or worse, they do and use it. I'll be praying for the Boy & Girl. And the Mom & Dad.

diane rene said...

breaks my heart to read this :( school in general sucks and I find myself disliking all children other than my own ... he will be stronger, it just sucks to see him hurt in the mean time

Anonymous said...

and now my heart is broken.


Barbara J said...

Well said!

Anonymous said...

man...i want to just go beat up some 13 year olds :(

I am so sorry

Dawn said...

Wow, kids can be horrible. Unfortunately they can grow up to be horrible adults who also make attacks on kids with good character which is something my kids have faced (with dignity and strength). I am sure with you encouragement and the character they seem to already have, your kids will weather the storm and be teaching their kids the same things. Unfortunately I don't think people will change in the coming decades.

Danielle said...

Oh gosh - I am so very sorry for Boy Child. As someone who was picked on & bullied from grades 2-5, I know how he feels... it is horrible. His friends are just jealous of how cool Boy Child really is... or their life is so crappy that the only way they can feel better about themselves is to be mean to someone else... I believe that. Please tell him I'd totally be his friend if I were 28 years younger.

Jana Holdeman Frerichs said...

Oh my goodness... as usual you put in to words all of my feelings. Which I'm not good at doing so I'll just keep reading you! :o) Anyways... my son is almost 15 and a freshman. It GETS better. 7th grade was TERRIBLE. I was sick and sad for him. I wanted to throw a blanket party on a bunch of asshole 13 year olds. It was a NIGHTMARE. His best friend from elementary school (who Austin had befriended because everyone made fun of HIM) would ignore Austin and act like he had never been his friend. And there was the bullying... I seriously wanted to run over kids with my car. It was so difficult. I dreaded eighth grade and even thought to myself that if 8th grade started as bad as 7th I was going to pull him out. But 8th grade was a little better and 9th grade has been fantastic. He has made all new friends, and that little asshole that pretended he wasn't Austin's friend? Is trying to be again. Please tell boy child he's not alone, this happens. I hope it helps.

The Blabbering Blatherskite said...

The French have a song that starts like this:
"Qui a eu cette idée folle, un jour d'inventer l'école?"

Who had this crazy idea one day to invent school?

Ironic, that they make kids sing it. :)


All the education in the world cannot seem to stop countries from having frequent or be in constant economic crises.

Individuals and countries should focus much more on their EQ, rather than their IQ, which is kind of what you are teaching your children: be kind. And it is clearly demonstrated in your approach to the smaller guy as being high (in you, not in him). ;)

School, in one form or another is often traumatic for children, causes being very early scholastic achievement pressures, bullying, torments by teachers, competition, fear of failure (high suicide rate among students in Japan because of that), etc.

Middle school is just a part of it.

As I was searching for a link of the French song, I noticed a bit of a spoof:

Qui a eu cette idée folle, un jour d'inventer l'alcool?

Now that's a different story altogether.