When I was in junior high and going through that whole awkward phase of life I had a hard time fitting in. My school was in a fairly affluent neighbourhood and most of the kids were preps and jocks who had grown up together and had probably formed their own clique by preschool. I was the child of two artsy parents and no matter how hard I tried to look like all the other kids at school I had my own ideas about fashion and I think my mother really tried to steer me away from looking like a clone. My sister and I were not allowed to wear clothes with big name brands plastered across the front. Well not that we weren’t allowed, our parents just wouldn’t buy them for us. “Why should I pay a company to do the advertising for them” my mother would say. At the time I did not like this but now I am SO thankful that they stood behind their ideals and values. I remember saying to my mother once ” I can’t wait till I’m an adult and I won’t ever have to deal with all this cliquey shit anymore”. (well I probably didn’t use the word shit) She responded by saying something like ” I hate to tell you this, but it never goes away and in fact it can often be worse as an adult.” Well I don’t know if it has really gotten any worse but it certainly has lingered.
I find myself starting to worry about Frances in this judgmental world, how will she deal with it. The other day as we were heading off to play I told her we were going to see some friends. Friends she kept repeating in such a sweet, innocent and genuine way that melted my heart. Friends are something she is just figuring out and really has no idea what they are all about. At this age kids are just starting to interact with one another, they observe and mimic and sometimes make contact. Frances, like her mother is shy and cautious around others but will start to open up when she feels comfortable. I want for her to develop meaningful friendships with people (kids) who respect her for who she is. I want her to be her own person and to find her own voice. I want her to be genuine and true to herself and I want her to be open and respectful to others. Kids can be so cruel and I worry about what it might be like for her to encounter that. It is part of life and I think we all deal with it at some point, it makes us stronger as people and builds our character. I’m sure most mothers have these same concerns for their children at some point.