My stomach twists as I turn into the drop off zone of what I pray will be my daughter Ruby’s last high school. I am desperate for this to work. Frantic for my child to be happy. And if not to fit in, then at the very least to blend.
“I hate this. It’s so unfair.” Ruby wails as she finally removes the earbuds that appeared to start growing out of her head when she turned Ten.
“I get that you hate school. I did too.”
This not so startling confession is met with the eye-roll it deserves. She thinks I’m a dinosaur.
Unlike her dad, the teachers and the gaggle of therapists, I don’t subscribe to the view that hating school is a bad thing. I don’t think it automatically makes Ruby another lazy teenage dirtbag who spurns reason, is buoyed by entitlement, and who only thrives in wi-fi hot spots. Okay, so while all three of the last three things might be true, it could indicate that she might demand, and hopefully extract more from the precious life I gave her.
What can I say? When it comes to my Ruby, my tot glass always overflows.
“Everyone always hates me!” she announces as she issues a death stare to the quintessential blonde tanned cheerleader crossing the road.
I look around. My heart dips. I see what Ruby sees.
Shiny massive SUVs usurping the road. The similar cackle of momsters, decked out in designer gym wear, huddled together to dish and ingest scandal while they quaff Zero carb protein shakes.
Different zip code. Same caste system. Ruby doesn’t stand a chance.
“No they don’t. These losers don’t even know you. And most importantly, I don’t hate you Rubster.” I say turning to my daughter who has contorted her body into what resembles a painful question mark. “ But I don’t get why you have to make this more difficult? Let’s try and fit in. This is an opportunity to reinvent ourselves.”
“Mom, in case you didn’t notice, I’m nearly sixteen. And unlike you and the sperm donor I’m not in the throes of a mid-life crisis. I don’t want to reinvent myself. And please will you stop speaking like a Tony Robbins infomercial. It’s driving me crazy.”
“Okay, Ruby here are your choices. You can go in there and play nice, or even play dead, but just don’t cause any trouble. Or I swear that I will ship you off to a Catholic boarding school.”
“But I’m Jewish.”
“So was Jesus! Now get out of the car. And Ruby, please, please just try.”
To be continued …