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Here are 10 things that I love about raising a middle schooler (because it's important to highlight the elements that are not stank feet and eye-rolls):
She can beat me at stuff. I don't have to pretend to be slow in the interest of not shredding her self-esteem. She is faster than me at (almost) everything and that is (almost always) awesome.
24/7 tech support. She is youthful and unweary. Screens are her friend! I wake up obsolete every darn day. But I am not bitter, because she will fix my freezey screen and delete my unwanted apps. Now I'll tweet to that (#withherhelp).
I learn from her. The other day as I was driving to one of her 75 enrichment activities, we saw a taxi that said Eritrean Cab on the side. She called out that Eritrea is a tiny sliver of a country on top of Ethiopia. She knew that! And later, when I confirmed it via Google, I knew that too.
She is morphing rapidly. I watch her change everyday. It's like a freaking science experiment in my house all the time. Like Bill Nye the Science Guy said, "Now watch this," and so we do, cringing and a little scared, unsure of the outcome. Why watch Mythbusters when I can saunter by the hall bathroom?
She sleeps with 700 stuffed animals. She is still a kid. A full-sized, fast, smart kid.
Sometimes she listens to Disney music, and not always the trashy stuff. She will rock Pocahontas and Toy Story. Sure, she may then transition choppily to something featuring Pitbull. A DJ she is not, but a kid? She still is.
See gawky woman-child change kitty litter and wrestle dumpster to curb. See mom careen onto couch to watch Dance Moms or Tiger Moms or Twelve-Year-Old Moms or some other reality melodrama that makes me feel like the most amazing parent in the universe. For two seconds, before someone begins bleeding from the eyes or needs to eat. Bad TV is still a stretch goal, but with the successful delegation of heavy-lifting chores, I can now see it glimmering in the middle-distance.
I can borrow her zit cream. Because in one of Mother Nature's more twisted jokes, I get zits on my wrinkles. Now it's my turn to roll my eyes and say, "Whatever."
She borrows my clothes. This mostly goes on the other list because if I get my clothes back at all they are usually smeared with jam or paint. However, in my (futile) attempt at spending less money, agreeing to share my wardrobe with her prevents me from buying Mom Jeans and other sensible attire. You heard it here, I am nearly hip. Okay, not really, but I am 10 percent closer to hip than I would be otherwise.
I catch glimpses of her future greatness. Sure, she smells funky and needs to wash her hair twice a day so her scalp won't slide off her skull, but that is temporary. What is less temporary is that she is funny and sweet and artistic and chooses friends with those same qualities. I know, I know, it's all subject to change, but for today, for her, I feel darn lucky.