I know when Chris reads the title of this…he will think I am about to reveal something about him…
Breathe a sigh of relief big boy…it’s not about you!
Actually, it’s about Jordan.
This afternoon, I was struck with the stark realization that I am not prepared to parent a teenager. What’s even more terrifying is that I will be a single parent for the next year. I taught middle school, but even the seasoned teacher knows that 7th grade is an animal all to itself. I was smart enough to by-pass it and teach 8th and 6th grades. Now, as we round the corner on 6th grade…I know it’s coming…I can hear the theme song to “Jaws”…we are moving into dangerous territory.
This afternoon, Jordan pulled me aside and whispered in a lower register, “Mom, I need to have a private conversation.”
Who doesn’t dread that request from a pre-teen?!?
I know the emergency phone number Chris gave me is to only be used in cases of death and dismemberment, but surely this qualifies as an emergency. I was ready to dial the thousand digits and hand the phone to him. I am sure in the marriage vows we said something about “the talk” and I am certain that he agreed it was his responsibiltiy along with taxes and the trash.
Anyway….I braced myself and held my breath.
To my surprise, Jordan looked at me with her most serious expression and said, “Mom… you know, sandal season is just around the corner…. (I nodded in disbelief…this was not what I was expecting, but I was following and waiting for a segue)…she continued…I don’t know if you’ve noticed……Mom….and I don’t mean to complain because I know God made me special and all….but, I really have some gnarly feet.”
I shook my head. Did I hear her right?!? Are we talking about feet?!? Am I off the hook?!?
She ignored me (teenagers perfect this over time) and then proceeded to explain that she needed the best possible advice on how to smooth and exfoliate her feet.
My first thought was… Tuck, a pair of scissors, and a rock…that combination would exfoliate anything beyond recognition…but I knew she wouldn’t find the humor in my joke. Apparently, foot care is an important topic that needs to be approached with delicacy and tact. Lately, I haven’t had either of those qualities on the ready. Jordan is so easily wounded these days. I knew I needed a straight face and an Avon degree on hand.
Another stark realization…my master’s degree in reading education has been completely useless with my children. Tuck reads food logos and Jordan thinks reading is was what people did before they invented “fun.” I would have been better off at Kenneth Shuler’s school of cosmotology…that’s what parents need to raise a middle school girl…a little spa knowledge sprinkled with some acetone to take the edge off.
Jordan is floating in her egocentric world and hasn’t bothered to look down at her mother’s toes. It will be a crushing disappointment to discover…those gnarly toes are genetic. At the foot doctor last week, he spent and inordinate amount of time telling me I had taped my pinky toe all wrong and that it was beginning to look deformed. I was too embarrassed to tell him….that toe looked deformed before I broke it in 2 places. Geez, buddy…do you have to rub it in?!?
We all have our tender spots; for Jordan (at least this week) it is her feet. Last week, it was her braces (I forgot to tell Tuck it’s not funny to put paper clips on your teeth and stick food in them)….
Next week….who knows what it will be…just pray for us. We are stuck in the middle of middle school.