Important Advice to Myself About Middle School

6 years ago

If I could jump into a tricked out DeLorean and go back to the future, I would write myself this warning letter before Missy started middle school six weeks ago…

Dear Karen,

You are completely clueless. Here’s a glimpse into the days ahead so you can “make better choices” that will save your liver and relationship with your daughter.

First, repeat after me: “I have a unique, sweet, funny and creative daughter.” Keep running that through your head during every crying spell, last-minute outfit change, eye roll, missed bus and “You just don’t understand!” huff.

That expensive Vera Bradley backpack that she begged, pleaded and saved all of her money to purchase? It will barely squeeze into her locker and fits two books.

Yes, she really is one of the only kids without a cell phone in middle school.

At the end of the second day of school, she will call from the office in tears begging you to pick her up because none of her friends are at the all-school kick-off party. She doesn’t know anyone there and is standing by herself. You tell her where to meet and race over to school with your heart in your throat. When you arrive, she’s nowhere to be seen.

Go run an errand. Or take a nap. She’s fine.

In fact, she’s whooping it up so much with her girlfriends, that she doesn’t even bother to meet you. It won’t be until a half hour later that she suddenly jerks around and starts running to your meeting spot. You’ll watch her panic, searching for you before you call her name. She starts sobbing all over again while explaining that she found her friends after she called home and lost track of the time. You will quote the Boy Who Cries Wolf and drag her ass home.

A few days later, your husband will get her a super-cool texting phone that makes yours looks like it has a rotary dial. It does come in handy when the bus goes up in smoke and she needs a ride. It also freaks her out in the middle of the night when it keeps vibrating every 10 minutes.

During week two, you will learn that she accidentally joined the Cross Country team when she thought she was signing the sheet to use the bathroom.

It is also at that time that she will come home in a panic because someone broke into her locker and stole her Spanish binder and colored pencils. Not the expensive Vera Bradley backpack. She is beside herself at how hard it is to stay organized, so you head out to Target for a new binder, colored pencils and a Trapper Keeper.

The next day, you’ll meet her after school to help organize her locker and binders. You discover that the thief kindly left her binder in her Spanish Class and put the colored pencils in the very back of her locker. What a considerate robber!

Dress comfortably because you will spend the next hour numbing your butt on a dirty floor as she regroups and organizes. Tip from the future: pack spelling words and a DS for Junior or he will run up and down the halls, getting in the janitor’s way. You will screech at him, not realizing that your daughter’s teachers are still in their classrooms.

She will forget her lunch and be completely mortified when you drive up to the bus stop -- nipping out -- in your pjs, glasses and Something About Mary morning hair and hand her girly-girl lunch box to the nearest/cutest 8th grade boy. “Please give this to Eileen.”

He will hold it up in the air and yell, “Who is Eileen?” and your daughter will sheepishly grab it from him. I really wouldn’t do anything differently but add a “Yoo-hooo!” It was super awesome.

The third week of school she will get a sinus infection. Skip the first round of antibiotics; they are like Flintstone vitamins and won’t work. Get the next level. There will be a shitload of make-up work that will put both of you in tears.

You’ll spread out all of the assignments on the living room floor. Make check lists. Put together a schedule of when to do what work. Binder clip groups of worksheets. All while you are managing her loads of work, your son will fail his spelling test because you have completely forgotten about him.

She will finally recover and audition for the school play. When you pick her up, she bursts into tears because she has a migraine and can barely see straight. Advice: be sure to bring a bucket because she will puke in the van and Junior will also start to gag.

Another day of school will be missed which pretty much seals the deal that you will forever be nagging her about missing assignments and make-up quizzes. You’ll also become addicted to the online grade system and stalking her teachers.

In the meantime, Junior flunks some other test that you had no idea about. Please try to pay attention to that kid once in a while.

Or teach him how to cheat.

Good luck with this. You’re gonna need it~

PS: For the love of God, pull your dress down while taking a picture in the front row for your own grade school reunion. Hail-damaged thighs AND a crotch shot?!?! Classy.

Why you should always wear clean underwear. Or any underwear.


Karen |

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