Jeans shopping 

I went Jeans shopping with my middle schooler. Long legs poking out of last year’s pants, and fall temperatures dipping into the 90s, combined with an Old Navy sale to lure us out. 
We both found jeans that fit perfectly; an amazing feat. She doesn’t know that women of all ages can dread jeans shopping and swimsuit shopping. To her it’s just fun. As it should be, right, before evil moves in to steal the goodness.
My “littles” are feeling the need to educate me about middle school. They put words to the contradictions and expectations that swirl through the halls; with the plaid skirts and polo shirts.

Tonight I heard more: “middle school girls want to fit in or stand out”. “They want to be beautiful so they can feel complete.” Ah, twelve.

Memories of twelve flit through my mind as we drive past the Highschool I attended. It is near enough to our house that I could hear the fight song while I was in labor with my second.

I remember the watching, the listening, the trying to figure it all out. It often seemed that there were rules that everyone else knew. To fit in was how you stood out, somehow. To stand out was to destroy the possibility of fitting in.

My middle school son wonders why it is so much harder for middle school girls. Is it? I have never been a guy, so I can only guess.

There are no shortcuts; you can’t fast forward from elementary to college like one kid wished today.

Maybe the way through it starts with a pair of jeans and listening in the car.

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