Yesterday was the last day of school for my kids, 3rd and 6th graders.  Correction: they are now officially 4th and 7th graders.  We met them at the bus stop, arms flailing out of bus windows, kids screaming at the top of their lungs, tears flowing, and the bus driver looking like he had either taken several too many Valium or already crossed the line into shock, awe, and complete denial.  Within seconds of their freedom, Stephen wanted to know how many friends he could invite over and Rachel reminded us of the end-of-school party she had been invited to attend. 

Stephen ended up going to a friend’s house in our neighborhood and I helped chaperon her friend’s party of somewhere around 15 middle schoolers – they never were in one place long enough for me to get an accurate body count.  The boy/girl ratio was staggering: about 11-4 in favor of the girls (or boys, depending on your perspective).  When I was 12, I still thought boys had cooties.  My crush was David Cassidy and I was quite confident the opportunity to actually meet him would never present itself, thus relieving me of any pressure to actually have a conversation with the opposite sex. 

Fascinating. Awkward. Frightening. Weird.  The world of adolescent and pre-adolescent boy/girl relationships.  The simple fact that the girls look like high school sophomores and the boys still look like fourth graders cracks me up.  The girls are easily 4-6″ taller and becoming shapely young women.  The boys’ voices are still vacillating between tenor and soprano, cracking like the eggs I boiled for Easter Sunday dinner.  They have baby faces, baby fat, and baby attention spans.

No matter, the girls mostly ignored them and focused on hugging each other, writing on each other with Sharpie markers, and finding out who could scream the loudest.  Music blaring, the boys actually danced.  One of them was quite good so I complimented him.  He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I wasn’t even trying.  Watch this!”  What followed would have made Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga collectively blush.

Four hours, six pizzas, five soda bottles, and all around ice cream sundaes later it was time to go.  The boys gave a ‘peace out’ and headed for their bicycles.  The girls hugged, cried, hugged some more and exchanged promises to see each other every day. In the car on the way home my daughter declared it was the BEST party she’s ever been to.

Rachel has not mentioned one of those classmates today. No phone calls. No texts. No negotiating if one comes here or she goes there. She slept late this morning, watched some TV, and did a little housecleaning with her Mom.

And so it begins…the dance of summer vacation.

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