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The Best Years?

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Somebody throw me a rope because I’m going down for the third time. There are some things a mother should not have to do. Like take their kid to freshmen orientation like I just did. Ohmigod. High school. I parked the car and went inside with my son, pretending not to be his mother. I could pass as a teacher, or hall monitor or something. There were lots of kids milling around and most knew at least one or five or twenty other kids. The girls hugged and squealed, the boys engaged in their ritualistic 20-minute long handshake routine. My son knew . . . nobody. Not another single soul. He’s going to a school of choice, so he doesn’t know the kids from the feeder middle schools. There were a few kids from his middle school who are also attending the same high school but they were nowhere to be seen. This bothered me a lot. High school is bad enough when you know everybody. How dreadful can it be when you don’t know anybody?! I don’t think it bothered my son much, and logic tells me that when I go pick him up in an hour or two, he’ll know lots of people. Right? On the drive back to work I did what any mother in the same situation would do. I cried. Not just a little misty-eyed thing. No. I had the full-fledged-sobbing-tears-rolling-down-the-face-can’t-even-talk kind of crying. Probably should have pulled over, but I got on the cell phone instead and called his father. Sobbing that this was way worse than the first day of kindergarten, that I’m not ready for high school and why do I have to do this? I’ve sent my only begotten son into a dangerous world armed only with a new backpack and a student ID card? What kind of mother am I? I’ve been to high school! I know how awful it can be! There are drugs there. There are bad kids there. There could even be guns there. And don’t even mention what now goes on in the bathroom stalls! Hand me a Kleenex, please. Thank you. Deep breath. OK. I survived high school. I was even one of the “popular? kids. Prom queen and all. And my son is way smarter, more resourceful and gifted in so many more ways than I ever was. He•ll be fine, don’t you think? Maybe even better than fine? Oh god, where’s the damn Kleenex? I am not ready for high school.

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