My youngest son is in middle school.
I repeat, my son is in middle school; land of sprouting pre-teens, decorated lockers, sudden bursts of hormones, brand new cell phones and embarrassing parents.
In preparation for this new adventure we had many a talk about middle school and new starts and how he would be perceived and how he would perceive people.
Let’s be clear, I want Donovan to be Donovan.
Donovan is unique, caring, obvious, verbose, athletic and hilarious.
Sometimes, all at the same time.
I’m not telling him not to be himself. I’m just telling him to mute it a little bit, he doesn’t have to be Technicolor all of the time and especially not in the first five minutes.
I love that Donovan is prone to bursts of break dancing and that he bought a pink ruler to carry on his first day.
I love that he wrote a song this summer about pancakes and sings it like he’s Jon Bon Jovi or Elton John depending on his mood.
I love that his outfit of choice includes a hat that says “Bummer no Summer”.
I’m just not to sure the eight graders will appreciate a full- blown rendition of “Flapjack Rock” complete with break dance moves and an “awesome air guitar solo.”
But he has watched his mother all his life.
I, upon meeting someone for the first time, might give him or her my whole life story before I even know his or her name.
I might challenge them to an arm wrestling match.
I might talk endlessly or ask them to dance.
My husband once told me you don’t have to put it ALL out there ALL at once; save a little something for someone special and he’s right.
So as our son heads off to the halls of Albert Hill and navigates the awkward weird tricky world that is middle school I say this:
Carry your pink ruler proudly, dance in the halls a little bit, wear skinny jeans and a “Bummer no Summer” hat if it pleases you, but save a little something for the second semester and for the people who turn out to be your true friends.
They are the ones who will truly appreciate those things that make you unique; laugh with you and not at you; and maybe, just maybe, join you in a chorus of “Flapjack Rock” if you’re lucky.