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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The day before

I just took a break from baking

this plum torte for tonight's celebration at my mom's house...

to look for my lost cuppa tea.

It's one of those days when I'm doing so many things, I end up chasing myself around the apartment and losing my tea. When I find it, it is tepid and sad. And my microwave is broken. And though I have finished making 3 of the 4 recipes I'm making, my kitchen is a mess and also that leaves one more thing to make and it's sweet pea risotto which why did I offer to make that and also WORK and my tea is yucky. So: break time.

So I picked up my laptop and saw that the piece on HuffPo I wrote, Top 15 Things Your Middle School Kid Wishes You Knew, just hit 200,000 "likes."

That is so many likes, you guys. Thank you so much. For the validation, of course, but also for making it so clear to me how much we are all in this together. As parents, we hunger to connect with our kids, even when they are being particularly impossible. We want to teach them, guide them, help them -- of course. We're perplexed by them sometimes, and we can't help but worry, even as we root for them to become independent, resilient, happy, productive and generous adults. Not yet. But someday. And as we struggle to connect with them, we sometimes feel SO ALONE.

But here is proof: we are not. We are so in it together, all trying to get it right, this most important thing we will ever do.

I am beyond excited about that. 

I will write more tomorrow and beyond about this book and why it means so much to me... 

But for now, I am thinking about all of us, parents of young adolescents. If you are interested in getting inside the heads of middle school kids, this may be the book for you as well as for your favorite middle schooler. There's friendship and social politics, multiple and spiraling misunderstandings, cyberbullying, crushes, big sandwiches, playground disasters, stumbling growth toward some tentative and incomplete measures of grace.... 

Here's a link to read more about the book, and to buy it. (That would be a great thing to do, btw.) 

If you do get the book, please let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are reading it with your kid, in some way. Do you have the same favorite character? Different reactions/predictions as things spiral out of control? Were you angry at the same characters as your child was? Do any of the characters remind you and/or your child of any of his/her friends? Were you surprised by any of your own reactions, or your kid's?

Sometimes it is far easier to begin discussing awkward topics like friendship and morality in third person (why did that character do that???) rather than in second person (have you ever done that? -- or, worse for getting any kind of conversation/information flow going: YOU'D BETTER NEVER DO THAT! Though, yeah, that temptation, dead-ender though it is, flares up in all of us...)

Anyway, in addition to being PUB DAY, tomorrow is also Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year. I wish all who celebrate a sweet and joyous celebration -- and wish all of us a year to come filled with laughter, love, celebrations, health, and peace. And not too many homework battles. And that your kid's socks won't be scattered around the house each night like little wayward sock brioches.

Is that just at my house? Oh. Oh well.

Off I go toward sweet pea risotto and a fresh hot cup of tea.

Much love,
Rachel Vail

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