Monday, October 10, 2011

8th grade.

Today, I had a moment. My littlest baby sister is in 8th grade! Part of me is thinking, "I can't believe it!" . . . which, of course, isn't really a logical thought because it is, in fact, believable. She was a baby and then she learned to crawl and babble and eat real food and walk. She went to Kindergarden and progressed normally and played sports and made friends. She's gone through every year of school since then. . . so, yes, it's believable that now she's here: in 8th grade. But, really, after all that, I am still thinking, " I can't believe it." I remember thinking the same thing when Lindsey, my littler baby sister, was going into 8th grade. How was it already her time? And now, how can Morgan already be in that place where Lindsey was, where I remember being so well?

In 8th grade, I had my first experience with painful rejection. I didn't make PALS, a leadership club I desperately wanted to be involved with, and nearly every one of my close friends did. It was a brutal lesson I had to learn about letting go of my pride, accepting imperfection, and celebrating others' excitement even when it hurt. I learned what it meant to really like a boy. I mean, before that, I'd had a few crushes, thought some guys were really hot, and even gotten nervous striking up conversation. . . but, boy oh boy, did that near obsession with Lee Sharrock teach me what butterflies felt like.  He was the subject of almost all my journal entries, the topic of practically every late-night conversation at slumber parties, and the source of, I think, all my disagreements with friends. In 8th grade, I learned about peer pressure, the nasty monster who rears his head and makes you feel obligated to stick your tongue down someone's throat to win approval in Truth or Dare. I learned how dumb you feel in the moment when you walk away from peer pressure, but how immensely rewarding it can be later when you remember you had the courage to do what you thought was right. In 8th grade, I got my first real kiss under a lamppost on a street corner in a neighborhood where so many of my favorite memories were made. In 8th grade, I experienced the simple satisfaction of doing a back-handspring, a goal I worked so hard to reach. I felt and understood the importance of good friends. I experienced the heart-breaking task of moving away from the place you call home at a time when all good things seem to be right around the corner. I probably learned more about myself in 8th grade than I did in all the years before that combined. It was, and still is, one of the best years of my life.

The years have passed. I made that transition to high school, as did Jake and Lindsey. And now, sweet Morgie, it's your time. Shine on, girl!  Cherish the time you spend with your friends, but remember also that your family members are friends who'll be around forever. Kiss boys you really like, but don't kiss and kiss just for the heck of it. Befriend the dorky people in your classes and never let the pressure to be popular override the importance of being kind. You are so bright and talented and beautiful. Although I can hardly believe you're as old as you are, I'm totally confident in your ability to face whatever struggles come your way this year. You rock :)

Today, I had a moment- a moment to recognize how fast life happens and to appreciate it for all it's worth.

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