“Momma?” my first born, who was on the verge of becoming an official teenager asked, “What were you like in middle school?”
“I didn’t go to middle school,” I answered deftly dodging the question, “It used to be called junior high.” That answer should have sufficiently sent us down the path about the history of public schools and their ever-changing configurations. And, if my distraction was successful, we would completely stray away from the subject of my awkward years.
But, I’ve raised a smart one.
“Same difference, Momma. Just tell me about it.”
I tried a different tactic: a question with a question, “What do you think I was like?”
“Momma,” she sighed, “Just answer the question.”
It was my turn to sigh. I guess she was going to have to find out eventually that I had not always been the super-cool and amazingly awesome person she knows—the one who drives a dusty minivan in the pick-up lane blaring Taylor Swift through the speakers.
I wondered exactly what I should tell her. I believe that some things are better left unsaid. But I also believe that honesty is the best policy, so I spilled.
I told her about the time I was putting on my smuggled-out-of-the-house lipstick in social studies class and it broke, causing me to streak a line across my face, down my shirt and onto my pants as the boy sitting across from me busted out laughing and fell out of his chair.
“I had a crush on him, so I was wanting to impress him. I guess in a way I did, huh?” I smiled at her sitting in the passenger’s seat.
Without giving her much time to respond, I continued to drag her down my own Memory Lane until we came to the intersection of Completely and Awkward, where I told her about the time I took clothes to change into after a choir contest but didn’t take an extra pair of shoes. That afternoon at the University of Oklahoma with a gazillion seventh and eighth graders racing all over campus, I was wearing a sleeveless yellow sweater, some orange and pink jams and two-inch black patent leather pumps.
“I’m sure it didn’t look as bad as I remember it,” I said in an effort to reassure myself more than anything. But I knew the truth. It totally looked as bad as I remember. Probably worse. It easily could have been the absolute worst outfit I’ve ever had on my body.
I shook my head to dismiss one fashion mishap for another as I recalled my eighth grade art class, where I inadvertently cut my bra strap while scratching my shoulder with a pair of scissors. I don’t know why I was scratching with scissors. I’m not sure how I didn’t actually cut myself. I also wasn’t aware that a snipped bra strap will snap against your skin with a small pop sound. Immediately, I asked to go to the bathroom, where I tied my strap into a knot. After art class, I went to the bathroom again, where I re-tied my strap into a knot. Shortly after my math class started, I asked to go to the bathroom yet again, where I tucked the unattached and untied bra straps into the cup of my bra. Finally, just before math class ended, I once more excused myself to go the bathroom, where I removed my bra with its clipped strap and shoved it into the trash can.
“I carried my books against my chest for the rest of the day, including lunch,” I explained to my intently listening daughter. “I guess that goes to show you that anyone can solve any problem they encounter. I felt really great knowing that I had taken care of the issue myself and didn’t need to ask an adult for help.” I sounded like an after-school special. It was a Mother-Of-The-Year moment.
As we continued on our way home, I told her about the time I went all day with my green jellies on the wrong feet. I shared about the time Rebecca tooted in PE and blamed me. And because I was scared of Rebecca, I owned up to it and apologized to the class. Finally, I told of the time I shook my chocolate milk after I had opened the carton, spraying chocolate milk all over me, my table mates and the really cute football players at the table behind me.
“So you see, honey, you can’t be any dorkier than your momma,” I reassured her with a smile.
“I know, Momma,” she smiled back, “but I was really just wondering what kind of grades you made.”
Heather Davis is an Oklahoma momma, a writer, and an eternal dork. She blogs at www.Minivan-Momma.com and is the author of TMI Mom: Oversharing My Life.