This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Me Worry?!?

Tomorrow starts the new school year. Last year, Mi-Mi was starting Kindergarten, or "big girl" school. I worried how she might do but she went in excited and nearly every day of the school year, was excited about going back. Imagine that?

This year it's time for CJ to go to "really big girl" school. She's starting middle school and I am so worried about her!

She's taking it in stride. She seems very calm and mildly excited every time I ask her a question about it.

But I need to stop. The more I ask, the more worried I get that I'm going to start worrying her.

We've visited the school. We walked around to her classes. We have been assured by every teacher that the first few days, the sixth graders will be 'escorted' to their classes. CJ will only need to have this happen for two classes, which are her electives. The core classes are all right next to each other, like a quad.

I'm concerned about her first day and finding her way to the gym, which is where all the students (6th through 8th grade) converge to before the bell rings for the start of the day. I know that there will be people escorting the 6th graders to their homerooms but I still can't stop thinking about CJ becoming overwhelmed; feeling lost; alone.

Unlike schools that I grew up with, she will not be going with all of her classmates from her elementary school. A few kids will be attending, one being one of her BFFs, but every time I ask about BFFs classes, I get drama from CJ. So I stop asking. Which makes me worry more that she won't have a friend on the first day to keep her at ease.

I relayed my own childhood horrors of starting new schools. In my case, it was not only a new school but a new city. Sometimes a new country.

I moved during my second grade year from Myrtle Beach AFB to Clark AFB in the Philippines, where my mother and her family are from. I remember one memory as being the first day of school and having to line up outside of class. One girl, who from my memory, was not someone I had good vibes from, stood right behind me. I felt something happen to the back of my shoulder and I noticed the douche bag put a BOOGER ON ME! WTF? Only I was probably thinking some other words at the time...but my knee jerk reaction was very similar "EWWWW! GET THIS BOOGER OFF ME! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?" In hindsight, it was a great knee jerk reaction because the girl never messed with me again. I don't recall if she was being a bully (my memory senses that she was picking on the new girl...pun intended) but my reaction was enough to scare her away from me.

Second grade is not so bad. But moving during my seventh grade year was tough.

I left the Philippines during the school year. I remember having to say goodbye to my friends, and my first puppy love Randy. And not only saying goodbye to my friends, but leaving the family that I love so dearly behind and not knowing when I would ever have the chance to see them again. And the worst of it all? Leaving my two beloved dogs behind. I would NEVER see them again.

I started seventh grade - IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCHOOL YEAR - in Homestead, Florida. I would come to find that living as a military child stateside is nothing like overseas. There are 'civilians' that go to the schools and have no sense of a military life. I was able to find a few kids who came from the same base, but the agony of finding out who can be your friend was hard.

The school was somewhere in the middle of canals after canals. It was a long bus ride to the school and then given my schedule and a "have at it". No one to escort me to my just begs for a scared middle schooler to humiliate herself and ask for help.

I pulled through but my memories of that middle school are not good. I was not happy and I just seem to glide through that period with little thought to recall any memory of it.

After ninth grade, I left Homestead, Florida for the U.S. territory of Guam. One aspect of being a military brat is that we inadvertently learn geography. Places like Kadena, Seoul, Guam, Clark, Elmendorf, we tend to know where these are located. When I spoke to my non-civilian classmates about where I was moving to, I received a lot of questions back, like "what state is that in?", "what is guam? A city?", etc. I remember being floored by their ignorance.

So I made it to Guam and started high school with a bunch of others. I met very few people before I started school so I had no one to really rely on. I was going in fresh. I somehow met a group of Filipino girls who warned me about Chamorros (native Guamanians). They didn't like howlies and they didn't like Filipinos. Um...but I am both!!! "Just look straight down. Don't look at anyone. Or they will confront you." Gee. This is what I have too look forward to?

I remember meeting up with those girls before my first day of school. I was nervous, but relatively OK. Until I threw up. Yes. I threw up, in front of God and everyone who paid any attention to me, off to the grassy area, in the waiting area where all the kids stand around before the bell rings.

I moved one more time after that...started my senior year at a brand new school in another 'country'...back to the US of A and finishing up my year at Gosnell Senior High School in Arkansas. This time, it wasn't so bad - if you call starting your senior year with new friends and a new school NOT SO BAD - as I knew a trio of sisters who lived on Guam with me and moved to Gosnell the year before. I had allies and they became my BFFs throughout my senior year.

But, as you may sense, I have my reasons for worrying about CJ. She doesn't have all of the same issues that I had but I can't help relate my stressful traumas with what she might go through. If I could, I would walk her to her classes myself but that, in itself, would not be the thing to do...even if she wanted that...she couldn't because it just wouldn't "look" right.

But if she asked, I would do it and would stare down anyone who thought it was weird.

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