As if 2020 wasn’t terrible enough, my baby is starting middle school this week. For reference, 6 years ago, I wrote a long-winded, overly emotional post half in tears about how she was starting kindergarten. For more reference, kindergarten is where kids go to sing songs and hold hands and learn letters. Middle school is where horny, overly emotional teenagers go to Snapchat and gossip.
At first, I wasn’t too sad about her going to middle school because middle school was online in our living room. This, to me, was a win-win. She got to experience the more diverse, challenging classes without the terrible parts of middle school–like other middle schoolers. But as time went on, my persistent need to pay the mortgage and not leave her unsupervised outweighed my desire to keep her away from the hormoned-up, somehow enormous classmates (side note: I swear the 8th graders at her school have full-on beards and mustaches. Somehow between 7th and 8th grade boys go from Peter Brady pre-voice change to Dog the Bounty Hunter). And so off she goes, masked up and full of hand sanitizer.
But, like, you guys. Do you remember middle school? Remember what it was like to get your first period in the cafeteria around a bunch of 12-year-old boys, and have your science teacher be the one to tell you to go to the nurse? Do you remember when all of a sudden your group of friends didn’t like you anymore because you wore fake Converse shoes instead of the real Chuck Taylors? Do you remember having braces, or even worse, NOT having braces like everyone else and then having crooked teeth? When I was in middle school, my nickname was Chicken Butt. Why, you ask? Because I tripped over my fake Converse shoes while carrying my flute to band practice and fell down the stairs and landed on my butt. The HUGE stairs that ran through the middle of the school which meant that literally everyone saw. I was so embarrassed that I cried! And then I was Chicken Butt for 2 years. If that happens to my daughter now, she will not just be Chicken Butt, she will be #chickenbutt because someone will make a gif out of her and she’ll be immortalized on the internet forever.
Another gem I remember vividly from middle school is school dances. I suppose these would have been fun for anyone fortunate to have been a part of a couple. Unfortunately for me, Cupid’s arrow managed to avoid me in middle school (and high school, and most of college). Instead of dancing with another boy, I sat with my friends and tried not to notice the couples dry humping on the dance floor. This was the majority of my sex education, awkwardly trying to avoid eye contact with the couples making out around me while I sat alone on the bleachers in my fake Converse shoes. One benefit of the pandemic is that surely couples will not be allowed to feel each other up in the hallway around my daughter anymore, and I hope to God that dances will be at least postponed this year.
So this week, I will put my daughter in real Converse shoes, spray her with Lysol, and pray for protection as she boards the bus. Even though this year has been a rolling dumpster fire heading down a mountain, my hope is that she comes out of middle school nickname and gif free, and survives it well enough to tell her own daughter horror stories one day.