I mean sixth and seventh grade.
I remember when my son hit sixth grade and suddenly every time I told him no he teared up. At one point I was so exasperated and horrified I told my husband if the boy kept this up he wouldn’t live to see 13. As luck would have it he snapped out of it around age 13 and settled into moody silences. I like moody silence, I can write in moody silence. Just please don’t cry when I tell you the garbage has to go out before the TV goes on.
A few years have passed and Saturday in Target I found myself face to face with my nearly 12-year-old daughter’s tear filled eyes.
“I’m trying not to break down!” she gulps, turning away, her fingers nimbly finding that curl of hair by her cheek she likes to chew on when she’s stressed.
I look down at the Pikachu onesie pajama in my hands. I’ve just told her I’m not buying her $40 footy pajamas when I can buy her a footless onesie for $16. I have a sinus headache, and a 9-year-old trying to pick a birthday present for a party we are on the way to.
I stomp back over to the rack and hang up the pj’s.
“Mom!” The 12-year-old wails, “I’ll take the Chewbacca without the feet!”
“No. Just no! We’re leaving, we’ll come back tomorrow when we both feel better and I have more time.”
I stomp through the checkout line and back out to the car. Before we’ve escaped the parking lot I’ve barked at the 9-year-old twice to get her gift put together, and told them NO MUSIC I have a headache!
It takes us seventeen minutes to get to the restaurant. In almost total silence. The 9-year-old sings to herself most of the way because she is what she is. I send the older sister in to make sure 9 gets to the right group and to find out when I should be back to pick her up. Then we are both in the car again. I stop at Wendy’s drive through for dinner and they take forever and give me the wrong drink. Hell no, I’m not going back! And what do you need footie pajamas for anyway? You have to wear shoes at school it’s Health and Safety rules!
“Damn it! They only put in one straw, you’ll have to wait till we get home for your Sprite.” I curse.
Silence reigns for another twelve minutes.
“I want the Chewbacca onesie.”
“It doesn’t have feet.” I say. After approximately twelve ounces of Dr.Pepper, I’m feeling a little better.
“They gave me Dr. Pepper instead of Coke Zero.” I tell her.
“I’ll drink it.”
“No, I’m good. I’ll get the pajamas tomorrow when I go grocery shopping.” I resist the urge to cave and offer to buy the ridiculously expensive pair.
“Thanks mom. Can we have tunes now or do you need more sugar?”
Shaking my head, “Turd, you can have tunes, but don’t tell your sister what a marshmallow I am.”
She flips the radio on and Heathens by Twenty One Pilots banishes the silence. We both reach to turn it up.
As the song ends and we pull into the garage I tell her, “You held it together really well in the store. I know it’s tough.”
“Thanks for not telling me to quit crying, it makes it worse.”
“I know. I remember that part.”
“Don’t forget to get me my onesie tomorrow.”
She smiles as we head to the door, “Guess what?”
“Mr. J said we didn’t even have to brush our hair Monday morning. Just roll out of bed and come to school. YEAH!”
Eyeing her curly mop of hair, I picture her in her Chewbacca onesie with furry hood. She’s going to look like a scrawny ewok. An adorable scrawny ass ewok.