Hey! Remember me? I used to blog fairly regularly, but then came Christmas vacation, and a trip to Vegas during which I managed to get sick (with, thankfully the cold thing and not the stomach thing) (and I can pinpoint exactly the not cute enough child who managed to cough and wheeze all over me for five hours) and then had work and life and, well…my apologies for the long absence.
The town we live in has a fantastic program called R.A.F. T.: Recreational Activities For Teens. It is a brilliant idea: hold events for kids in grades 6-8 who live in town (no guests) as a way to develop new friendships and relationships as they near the time that the nine K-8 schools in town merge together into the single high school. Among the most popular events are, not surprisingly, the dances. Held at the high school (how cool is that when you are a 6th, 7th or 8th grader?) they are highly anticipated and attended. Friday night was the first one for 6th graders and Jess was all over it.
This was a weekend that she was with her dad, and I will admit to being (not so) secretly relieved that I was off the hook when it came to getting her dressed, ready and to the ball. The whole thing made me nervous, anxious, and a little bit more than slightly queasy. I plied her with what I considered an appropriate number of queries leading up to the big day (Are you excited? Are other friends going? Did you want to go with a group of kids?) But no, she was cool and also as blasé as a kid vegging in front of the tv. She amazes me.
I dropped her at Rich’s late in the afternoon and went home to make cookies: I was, apparently, desperately seeking comfort. Around the time she was getting dropped off (alone, without a group of girls, or boys or, for that matter, anyone) I texted Rich to see how she seemed. He responded that she was as cool as a cucumber, looked pretty with her light application of lip gloss and blush and was her trademark ballsy self. He had asked her if she was feeling at all nervous to which she replied, “No…why would I be nervous” (as though it was the stupidest question ever asked) and proceeded to get out of the car, walk into the high school gym all by herself and, much like she did that first day of her transition at school, never look back. He and I joked of the many reasons we thought she could/should/would be nervous. None of them, it seems, occurred to her. G-d bless that kid.
An hour or so into the dance, I texted Rich again: “Was everything okay? Had he heard anything from her? Think she is okay?” His response: Not a call, a text, a tweet, nothing. Wow. Impressive. (Aside: I remember how anxiety-producing those dances were for me back in the day…oh how I wish I had her confidence.) And then, around the time I figured the dance would be letting out, I texted yet again. She, I learned, had a great time, walked out with a gaggle of girls and cannot wait for high school. Phew. Big sigh. Huge relief.
I feel a little bit guilty for not being an active participant in her dance preparation. I feel a little bit badly that I was relieved to have been “off the hook”. I also feel, however, more than a little bit proud of her for having such confidence and strength and courage while I was wimping out in the corner. Drinking wine.
So here, well into our third year of Jess being Jess I continue to marvel at what she is willing and capable of doing. I still do not know how things are going to flush out, where she will land and how we will get there…but I do know that if anyone can handle this, it is Jess who is, perhaps, the ballsiest girl ever.