Don't I look wistful in this picture? That's because it was taken at Cole's 8th grade graduation. (By my girlfriend with her mega zoom from across the gym. Thanks, Erin. It's a lovely picture. Poignant with a hint of sparkle.)
I had barely recovered from that momentous event when BOOM just last Wednesday he started H.I.G.H.S.C.H.O.O.L. And he is quite possibly the most adorable freshman I've ever seen. (He looks JUST like Dave in high school in this picture.)
And, I really thought I was prepared. I read the books. Got the skinny on teachers and programs. Sent emails. Made inquiries. Requested teachers. Went to the principal's coffee. Did my due diligence. And, when other moms were lamenting over the loss of their "babies" I was secretly rejoicing that my "babies" were no longer such babies. Hallelujah. I was excited to walk this next chapter (that I had been so fond of in my own life) with my son who will CLEARLY eat up the entire high school experience. Let me give an example. The Friday before school started, he and I spent the better part of the day at the high school picking up his class schedule, books, student i.d., P.E. clothes, etc. Lots of waiting in lines. When we got to the front of the student i.d. line the adorable, juniorish girl manning that station asked him what year he was. Without skipping a beat he lifted an eyebrow, cocked his head to one side, folded his arms across his chest, peaked at her from above the rims of his super cool aviators, and said in a voice more befitting a man than a 14 year old boy, "JUNIOR.....No. SOPHOMORE........No. FRESHMAN." My chin hit the floor, but she was smitten. She peered up at him, twinkle in her eye, smiling ear to ear and said, "You COULD be a junior. What's your name, Freshman?" As I gathered my chin off the ground and glance up at my man-child I was somewhat stunned to see the cocky confidence that permeated the very air around him. And I dare say I was proud. Because let's be honest. That's exactly what you need to be successful in high school -- a healthy dose of cocky confidence.
But here's where the story turns south. At least for me. He went to the "back to school" dance on Friday night. It was called the "Freshman Mixer". Which, p.s., I didn't really like that name. It sounded too much like a "Singles Mixer" or something. Anyway, the idea was that the "LINK CREW" (primarily junior and senior kids whose job it is to assimilate the freshmen into high school) were tasked to dance with as many of the freshmen as possible. You know, "make them feel comfortable"; "show them the ropes". Seemed like a nice idea. Although, this is what my freshman boy-in-a-man's-body had to say when he got home, and I quote, "Oh my god. I had the best time ever. Senior girls in short shorts and tank tops 'grinding all up on my junk.' " end quote.
I'll just pause here to let that sink in.
1) How great that our kid is still willing to share all of the gory details of his life with us.
2) WTH - Were there no CHAPERONES? If there were, is this permissible behavior at the high school level? If so, I may need to consider homeschooling....again.
3) I'm seething mad. I do not want my kid's "junk" involved in any school time activities, Thankyouverymuch. Call me old fashioned.
4) I'm surprised to realize that I've become one of "those" parents. You know the ones like Dr. and Mrs. Houseman (Baby's parents) from Dirty Dancing. Or Reverand Shaw Moore (Ariel's dad) from Footloose. I remember thinking when I saw those movies as a teenager that those parents were so totally out of touch with their teenage kids. I specifically thought to myself, "When I'm a parent of teenagers I will not allow myself to be so out of touch with what's going on and what's 'normal' with the teenage crowd. And yet, here I am. Completely out of touch and totally appalled by this behavior. I'm calling Shaw Moore.
5) Who is looking out for these girls and their self respect? This "grinding" seems largely degrading to girls and women. Again, where are the chaperones? Who is the teacher advisor to this "Link Crew"?
6) Dave says, "It's no big deal. This is all part of growing up. At least he's talking to us about what's going on." Yes, that's true. Am I overreacting?
7) The good news: Cole told us that there was one girl that caught his eye.
Me: "Was she a senior?" (gulp)
Cole: "No, she's a freshman, and she's in my G.A.T.E English class." (Thank God.)
Me: "Did you dance with her?" (gulp, gulp)
Cole: "No. I didn't want to dance with her like that." (Thank God.)
So at least our moral teachings haven't past him by. Hallelujah. But it's still irritating to feel like the school is working against us as we try to impart on our son the importance of getting through high school without engaging in nonsense. (Read: without having sex -- or doing drugs.)
8) I'd like to send an email to the principal, but I hate to start off my high school career (yes, mine - I'll be in high school for the next 12 years. Sigh.) with a big honkin' issue like this.
9) Please advise, my dear, brilliant colleagues in parenting. What to do? How to handle?
One of "those" parents,