I was chatting with a friend recently about our teen years and the stories were the same. While I never had outright bullying, there was a lot of ugly teasing and mean girls. I grew up in an area and a time where everyone was supposed to be exactly the same.
My friend talked about how, when he turned 14, all of his friends pretended that they didn’t know him. These kids who used to walk down the street to pick him up on the way to school all of a sudden, they would just yell rude comments and keep on going.
One of my worst memories from high school was when two best friends just didn’t pick me up one night, and then pretended they never even knew me after that. Like we had not been friends for the past however many years. Like I hadn’t slept over umpteen times. Like, what the hell just happened?
So, yeah, as Dex entered middle school – that time when friends traditionally get judgey – I have been a little, let’s say… twitchy. I try not to impose my past experiences too much, because not only is Dex an old soul – he is most definitely his own person. He has generally not really cared what anyone thought and has gone his own way. Part of it, I know, is all that diversity we fight for – one benefit seems to be (thus far) kids like to be different. Less pressure to wear exactly the same clothes and do exactly the same things. I am pretty sure we all owe Glee a huge debt of gratitude.
But, I still hold my breath. Every time.
This week was Denver’s 10th annual Pajama Day, which raises money, food and awareness for the homeless. What did my son wear? A Doctor Who onsie. Head to toe, David Tennant era, complete with a hood and pockets. I am already plotting what to send my nephew next Christmas in retaliation for this ridiculous gift from my sister. He puts it on almost every day when he gets home from school and I just shake me head. When I saw the email requesting pajamas at school, I knew what was coming.
As he kissed me goodbye that morning, he was so happy. Thrilled he got to wear this crazy outfit from his favorite show to school – ALL. DAY. LONG. His face was literally glowing. He wasn’t thinking about what anyone would think, or say. He was just having fun.
I was so impressed. He’s not even 13. He has more self-possession than I do now, at 44. When he came home, his only complaint from the day was that he had been worried his phone would fall from the onsie pocket.
“Did a lot of kids dress up?”
“Did they like your pajamas?”
“Some didn’t know what they were from. I felt sorry for them.”
There ya go.