My twins started Middle School this week. And while their elementary school years brought back sweet memories, their starting Middle School brings me back to what was most definitely the most miserable time of my life: Junior High.
First there was my body. My feet as big as flippers, hair sprouting in places no one wants hair, (Witness the endless Groupons for Hair Removal). Even the hair on my head was too frizzy to be wrestled into the Farrah Fawcett Flip. And of course my boobs were sprouting. I never did understand how training bras got their name. What, exactly, do they train boobs to do? Stand at attention? Really, what’s the point of training them? They just get old and forget everything they learned anyway. Trust me – I’m a prime example of:
time + pregnancy + gravity = maximum saggage.
My nose changed in middle school, morphing me from a sweet little button-nosed kid into a frightening rendition of my Grandpa Simca. And let’s not forget the braces. I had the invisible kind. Only they weren’t. They were yellow and stained and made me look like I’d had a pack-and-half-a-day habit since I was six.
At pick up the other day, I saw an eighth grade girl with heavy eyeliner, fishnet stockings, and bright pink hair. I saw High School girls who were way too fashionable to be kid-like in the least. I saw seventh grade boys who, just last year, were smooth skinned and smiley but are now peach-fuzzed and sullen. And everywhere I saw heads bowed, everyone texting furiously.
The days of happy cries of “Mommy! Mommy!” at pick up are long long gone for me.
Since they are not burdened with traumatic memories of middle school, my kids liked their first few days. For the first time, they don’t have a specific classroom. They move around from subject to subject. They’re interacting with kids in upper grades. The school building is much more spacious than their Lower School’s was. It’s a bit overwhelming – but exciting.
But I can’t shake my memories of that dark, dark time. When Michael Philips teased me mercilessly, and my ridiculously long, unrequited, utterly humiliating crush on Joel Malina began. I worry about the mean girl stuff, the “does he like me?” drama, the complete freakiness of a body that used to be one thing….and now is quite another.
But of course I can’t tell them any of that. I talk about how great and exciting it’s going to be. How much fun middle school was. I lie.
I hope their middle school years are better than mine. I hope they don’t experience petty meanness or paralyzing insecurity. And I really, really hope my daughter doesn’t get the nose.