My friend Sarah wrote a blog post that made Laugh Out Loud. I guess it doesn't surprise me all that much, she was always funny, goofy, nice, smart, I could go one, but, sorry Sarah, I won't! I'm not sure that some of the people I'm still friends with through FB realize what impacts they had on me, or others when we were kids.
It's funny to me that I agree with so much of what Sarah said, because I envied her confidence at the time...confidence that she doesn't seem to remember having a lot of.
I was the skinny kid, who among many things got called "Gonzo" or "Skeletor" on the bus or the field at "recess." But I had good friends for the most part, though I should let you know that my definition of friend was far more specific than just being in classes with people, even in middle school. I still struggle with confidence, with accepting myself, with realizing that what other people think of me really doesn't matter that much in the grand scheme of things.
If that's something I can teach my child at a younger age then I'm all for it. I just wish I knew how. She's getting picked on because she's smart, polite, helpful, pretty, athletic...this gets her called a "suck up" and "goody-goody" and has earned her some enemies even in her honors/pre AP courses where she's sitting with other "smart" people all day. It's earned her enemies because the teachers like her, respect her, she gets good grades, has 3 high-school credits already even though she's only just finishing 8th grade, and for some reason this makes people think that SHE thinks she's better than others...which is as far from the truth as it can get.
She struggles daily because she's worried about people she thought were her friends, but after getting nominated (along with 5 others) for Student of the Year, found out that they really weren't. They were so jealous they told her how they COULDN'T BELIEVE that SHE had been nominated of all people, that she was too immature (because she likes to laugh, tell jokes, cut up when not in class), how in the world she get it an not them (jealous much)...those simultaneous life rafts, yet sharks that Sarah mentioned. She's in a constant state of worry about who is trying to get her in trouble, who is jealous enough to try to break up her friendships and boyfriend-ship, try to get her in trouble by spreading rumors/lies, in general being nothing like what she expected of people she trusted.
To top that off, she like me, has lost some really close true friends because they've moved. I lost many too around that age, and I do remember all too well the heartache from losing the few people I was really friends, not just acquaintances, with. I suppose at least I do remember, I can help her, though sometimes I feel like I'm floundering around with it all.
She can't really control the roller coaster, and so I have to remind myself and my husband to cut her some slack, she's got a lot going on. At the same time, I have to show her that she can and will get through it. That she's stronger than she thinks she is. I think I've learned more about people and how to deal with people in a variety of situations since I had kids than I ever learned before, and I know I will continue to learn. It just stinks for her that I don't know it all now...know how to better prepare her than I do.
I don't have 3 kids in middle school (though in a few years when my younger two get there I'll have two at a time, and Sarah can come laugh at/with me then), but I do remember, and I do think that God has a great sense of humor...one we don't always give him enough credit for. He's on this ride with us, and if He didn't have a sense of humor and we couldn't see his sense of humor, the ride would be very LONG indeed...