Baby sister came in September of 1985. What a year that was! I was in fifth grade, ten years old, and babying my sweet bundle from God just for me.
At least, that's how I felt since mom said "Okay, stop praying, Shel, you have your sister!"
But she wasn't just for me.
She lit up our lives like no one would have expected.
She was that gorgeous bundle of sweet and happy that we had all needed.
Our move brought moving of schools.
For someone who didn't like change, and had attended the same school for the last six years, this would be interesting. The first one was an hour away. That lasted for all of fifth grade. I sincerely remember little about that school but the long drive and suspecting my teacher had a crush on the 6th grade teacher... and the fact that he was a man and that had never happened before either. I didn't like it one bit. But there was a girl named Angie who was nice to me. And that got me through.
Sixth and seventh were in the public school down the road. It was a first for us, and a real eye-opener. I had a great teacher in sixth grade.
I'll never forget her. Sixth grade was a year that brought challenges among peers and trying to fit in with my backwards private school ways and my funny clothes; but it brought comfort in school aspects. I was ahead for the most part and my grades stood out. My teacher encouraged me like few others. She knew it had to be hard for the little turtle peeking out from her shell that secluded her for oh so many years, but she also saw me for me. Not something I could say about many in my life.
Then or now.
I loved her. I think I still do.
And maybe that's the reason I wanted to change my mind about law and just become a teacher instead.
I wasn't so fortunate in seventh grade, but that's not really worth going into. It wasn't a horrible year, but it did nothing to promote my feeling good in my own skin, that's for sure. I was gangly, awkward and pubescent. But it was okay. I had a few friends, and Kirk Cameron was on "Growing Pains", so life couldn't be all bad. ;)
And so the late 80's carried on. How I loved the 80's... I mean, big hair and neon colors?! What can be more enticing to a teenage girly-girl?! :) And the fact that my daughter is in love with hot pink, bright teal, and leggings under absolutely everything - oh, that just tickles me to no end. And I love watching her 8th-grade-self and remembering...
8th grade was a year that I will ever be grateful for. Oh, how the challenges came, but oh how God did provide! In the year of one of my biggest challenges to date, one of life's biggest blessings came along.
I was 13. She was 12.
The girl with whom I'd share my secrets and deepest of feelings from adolescence to adulthood and beyond came into my life that year. It was a small private school and we'd share 7th and 8th grade classes and study halls on occasion. Little did I know then that it would be the year I needed her to come into my life.
I had a teacher who will remain nameless. He was our homeroom teacher and my goodness how he disliked me. I'd have a pass for being late, and I'd receive demerits. I'd give an opinion during a class discussion and I'd suddenly be "rebellious and insubordinate"... and more demerits came. The boys in the back would talk, I'd get demerits. It became more than I could handle and I stood up for myself one day. Yeah, that wasn't pretty either. The children who had lived their entire lives in this school aghast at the fact that a pupil would challenge a teacher sat in awe as I told the teacher to come with me to the principal to sort things out, or I'd leave myself.
And I did.
Step by step down the hall way with Mr. 8th-grade-teacher spewing demerits with each stride. Finally, I caved, went back in the class, but promised to go to Mr. Principal's office when the bell rang. I forget how many demerits it took to get in real trouble, but trust me, I was in it. The bell rang, and off I was to the principal's office.
He didn't greet me with warmth and comfort. And now, looking back, I must say that it is only fair that a boss would back his teacher and not take the word of a 13-year-old without any proof. However, to simply label, scold and discredit is surely not the answer either.
And so I became the labeled one in any class held by my homeroom teacher, and was pulled aside in the hallway on occasion for the principal to check my daily attitude. The other teachers were great, for the most part, but I wasn't about to take things lying down. I wonder at that since later in the next few years I would buckle if only to gain peace, however, that was not the real me. The real me was that 13-year-old fighting like nobody's business to be treated fairly. Oh, how much I had to learn about this unfair world of ours!
Throughout the year, other students would witness the injustices, experience some themselves and start to back me up. A coup. That's how the administration saw it. And I was the leader. It's humorous to me now to even think of it that way. As if I was iron-clad-warrior-girl roaming the halls of the doomed, seeking to set them free. ;)
My parents were called.
The board was contacted. Yup. The whole entire school board.
And I was to meet them at 6 O'clock Thursday evening along with my parents.