Today is “Step Up Day” at Jess’s new high school. New as in: new town, new community, new kids, new friends, new social expectations, new house, new step-father, brothers and grandparents…new, new, new.
All rising 9th graders, of whom Jess knows exactly no one, will meet in the gym where they will be greeted by their assigned mentors. Jess’s mentor is Sophie who, upon receiving her assignment, immediately followed Jess on Instagram and has, thus far, at least, been an excellent text correspondent. I happened to meet her a week or so ago at a Freshman Parent Night, told her all about Jess and she said, “Cool! She’ll do great here!”. (Pause here to thank the good lord above).
Jess is Team Purple and, as of 10 pm last evening, is the proud owner of two different shades of purple shirts, a purple headband and brand new purple sneakers (which I had purchased for myself and may or may not have forgotten about) from which to create her ensemble. And, just an aside: in all likelihood, she will never wear any of them ever again.
This morning she slept in until, that is, I shook her awake, pulled back the covers and told her to get dressed, we were going for a walk on the beach. Grumble grumble grumble. To sweeten the pot, I offered that if she got up rightthisminute I would stop at Dunks for a coffee on the way and take her for breakfast when we were done.
She did. We did.
It was a glorious morning of talking, laughing, opening up (being on the beach is like being in Vegas: what happens there, stays there) and just being together with no agenda, . The gem of the morning was when she put her arm over my shoulder and told me that I am her best friend. (Pause here to still my swelling heart).
Always a reluctant and (somewhat) uncooperative subject, Jess knows me well enough to know that putting up a fight when I want to memorialize moments that she considers “whatevers” is a losing battle. I like to firmly believe that she secretly likes it. Oh, she talks a big game and loudly protests, but, given the fact that she stopped and, gasp, smiled as I aimed my phone in her direction, I think it is safe to say that I am not entirely wrong.
As she got out of the car and walked into the high school (and yes, there are layers of purple under that hoodie) she took a deep breath, muttered, “I’ve got this” and walked in without looking back…just like she did that Wednesday morning in 4th grade…