Rights of passage are an important part of growing up. Crawling, sitting up, and first steps are celebrated with awe. There’s nothing quite like pre-school graduation, complete with songs and pint-sized graduates attired in caps and gowns.
My middle school graduate is no longer pint-sized, and she has grown into quite a beauty. She’s always had a sense of style, and enjoys all things fashion related. Her vision of what graduation celebration looks like when it’s right included shopping for the perfect dress and matching shoes, swiping through images of hair coifs, mani- and pedi-cure, and of course, the salon appointment on graduation day for the much-discussed hair-do.
Yet there is more to graduating middle school than fashionably attiring oneself. There is the accumulation of late nights and weekends spent doing homework, studying for tests, and navigating relationships with teachers one isn’t necessarily fond. Oh, and let’s not forget learning how to be friends who date other friends, especially when those friends break up and you all manage to remain good friends.
Yes, there is much to absorb in school that goes beyond reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. There are choices and consequences to contemplate, personalities and character traits to figure out. Oh, and let’s not forget that whole brain under construction thing that goes on during adolescence.
My Fashionista took on all those challenges with the same up front, in-you-face enthusiasim she lives other aspects of her life. To say that she’s an energetic young woman who embraces life on her own terms doesn’t begin to describe her joie de vivre.
I think she’s got awesome opportunities in front of her, challenging enough to build character and interesting enough to acquire all kinds of skills. Can you believe it? My first high school aged student. Wow.
So, my son and his friend asked what they could do to earn money. They lamented that they were too young to go out and get a “real summer job.” They mowed the back yard, and raked leaves for $5, each. They mowed the front lawn and earned another $5, each. They uncluttered and swept my bedroom and scored another $5, total. I know! I’m cheap.
“Why don’t you walk around the neighborhood, knock on a few doors, and ask if you can mow lawns.” My son and his friend were galvanized into action. Off they went to seek their fortunes. They returned a couple of hours later excited because they mowed 5 lawns at $10 per lawn. They were stoked not just because they’d scored $50, but because they had made appointments to mow three more lawns the next day. Saturday rolled around and they came back with $40, because one place payed them especially well.
My son is excited because he earned enough to purchase a cool, trick yoyo that he’s had his eye on. His friend is excited because he earned 2/3 toward something he dearly wants. Both boys said that they felt quite grown up, and very proud of themselves.
And there goes my son now… off to his 6:00 lawn mowing appointment.
My son wanted to trick out his skateboard with blue neon Electroluminescent Ribbon. I mean, who wouldn’t? Sadly, the connector to the power supply disconnected from the ribbon. I hate it when that happens.
While he was studying the contraption to see if or how he could fix it, the wire somehow got away from him and bopped him on his cheek. The electric shock was, well, shocking, to say the least. When one is electrocuted, one’s mind tends to race in the direction of permanent damage to one’s health. My son was no different. After several reassurances, it was time to take a new tactic.
“Is there a red mark or anything on my cheek?” He asks. “It feels weird, like when you go to the dentist and they give you that numbing shot.”
“It’s fine, really. Well, except for that black splotch.” I couldn’t help myself. Really. It just had to be said. Well, he goes off into a just-pushing-the-edge-of-panic state, striding purposefully toward a mirror.
From the hall I hear a disembodied voice, “I really hate you right now, mom.” I’m laughing my tushie off, too dang funny. He laughs with me. “That was mean, mom.”
“Yeah, but you’re not worried anymore, are you.” We laugh about it off and on for another 20 minutes or so.