"Save me a seat, okay guys?" I said. "I'll drop you at the door so you're not late. I'll park the car and come find you. ...Here... take my phone so you can put it on a seat for me...".
"Okay, Mom. WE WILL!" they shouted over their shoulders as they ran off to join their friends.
I felt pretty good about things.
I worked all day today and rushed home to feed the family in fifteen minutes flat. My girls and I were off to the middle school variety show. We had to hurry!
Serena had a friend over for the fifteen minute dinner. I would take Friend to the variety show as well.
"Who wants to bless the food," I asked.
"Bless the food?" asked Friend. "What do I do? I've never done this before...".
"Oh. Well. We bow our heads and thank God for our food... And then we eat it," I said. "So who wants to pray?"
My children all looked nervous and uncomfortable in the face of this heathen new comer.
Suddenly Serena (13) piped up, "I'll do it."
And she did. She said a good one too. She even thanked God for her friend. RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER PRAYING FRIEND WHO HAD NEVER EVER PRAYED BEFORE! ...EVER!
It took guts, man. Thirteen year olds don't generally do crap like that.
I was a proud Mama right then.
My child is a brave little angel.
I couldn't wait to spend an evening out with my angelic daughters and their newly praying friend! What a heavenly evening we had in store!
We would laugh together. And hoot and holler. Good clean fun, it's called.
I would be amazing and awesome, of course. And all their friends would say, WOW! YOUR MOM IS THE COOLEST! She is HILARIOUS! HAHAHAAAAAA!
And they would say, We LOVE her black leather jacket! She looks so YOUNG! ...And SKINNY! ...in that black leather jacket...
I parked the car at the middle school. Walked into the dark auditorium expecting to see my children waving me down... so I might sit in the seat they saved me...
There was no waving.
There was no seat.
"We couldn't save you a seat," they said once I squinty eye found them.
"That's cool," I said in my black leather jacket. I was the Phonze. Phonzy Barbarino in the land of Tweens.
Their friends totally ignored me.
"I'll just sit way over there... by myself. No problem," I chuckled as if I had not imagined in color the clamoring of teens and tweens vying for my attention.
I sat alone. Amid middle school kids. It was another universe.
I had landed on Mars.
My feelings were not hurt. Really.
I was perplexed. Where had my babies gone? Why was no curly haired girl sitting on my lap or holding my hand and calling me mommy?
I tried one last ditch attempt to get my daughters' attention.
"Bella! Serena! Look at me! I'm going to take your picture!"
This was the result. The two girls standing on their chairs are mine.
Whatever. Such is life, right? I'm fine.
I took the opportunity to observe the insanity that is middle school aged child behavior.
THERE WERE KIDS KISSING! ON THE MOUTH! RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!
I wanted to be like, STOP IT! STOP THAT KISSING RIGHT NOW! YOU ARE A CHILD!
And kids were MEAN!
If a kid on stage sang off key or his voice cracked (which is likely to happen at this puberty ridden, acne dominated age) some members of the audience would snicker and scoff.
I WANTED TO SPANK THEIR NAUGHTY BOTTOMS!
I wanted to spank them and say, "See? That's what happens when you're not nice! You get A SPANKING! DO YOU WANT A SPANKING?!"
There were several boys with longish hair, brooding eyes, pouty lips and backwards hats that needed spankings BADLY. I could just tell.
I thought about lining them up and giving them spankings and haircuts and turning their hats frontwards.
And the girls! Oh my. Oh dear me.
They forgot to wear their pants to the variety show. They wore denim panties and called them shorts. And many of them smiled and shouted at and pushed the boys with the backwards hats and longish hair.
None of these kids knew what to do with themselves. They were Mexican jumping beans bouncing off one another and spinning in circles and doing it all again. Bounce bounce spin spin bounce spin bounce.
I know what to do to fix all that aimless bouncing and spinning.
SPANKINGS! SPANKINGS ALL AROUND!
To be fair, there were nice kids too.
Kids that clapped and cheered for their friends on stage even when the performance was lacking in... accuracy...
My brother said it best today when he said,
"Thirteen year olds are only good at one thing. ...And that's being thirteen."
All in all I really enjoyed the evening. I enjoyed the kids brave enough to perform for a finicky crowd. Middle schoolers can be fearless. They don't yet realize all that can go wrong on stage and in life. Bless them for that!
I came to understand the reality my girls face everyday.
They pray in my home. My husband and I offer them spiritual food and abundant Love. They are treated gently and kindly.
My girls are forced to fly to Mars daily. Aliens in hot pants, trashy language and something to prove rule and reign.
When the show was over Serena said,
"Mama, will you please take me to Walmart? I need a t-shirt for a school project."
Oh. So NOW I'm Mama. Mmmhmm. I see.
Here you see me. In my black leather jacket. At Walmart. At 10pm.
You failed me, black leather jacket.
You failed me when I needed you most.