Monday evening I got an automated message from the school. Something about a meeting on Wednesday at 6pm for students in 7th- 12th grade who are interested in taking college courses at the high school auditorium. Well, Matt’s in gifted classes, talking about being bored and pulling off a 101% in his social studies class, with a 3.75gpa, and in 7th grade. Sounds like his type of deal, right? Right.
I text my boss this morning asking to skip lunch and leave early. She replied yes, and immediately called me. I answered, expecting her to say something about it being the last day of the month and I needed to be there that final hour to collect rents. Instead she expressed shock that I have a child going into 8th grade (I get this a lot) and then proceeded to tell me that it was important that I go to get all the information so I could make an informed decision if this was right for Matt. She had been through it with her kids, and gave me some pointers. Talk about unexpected support. Have I mentioned how awesome my employers are?
In case you don’t know me or haven’t been reading, I was 20 when I had Matt. Youngish. I never noticed that I am the youngest parent in his class, however. Matt pointed it out to me last year, and as I glanced around his orientation meeting this year, I realized he was likely right. In 7 years of school events and meetings and play dates, it never occured to me that all of his peers parents were actually quite a bit older than me. Why should it matter? No different than his friends of different ethnicities, his friends parents ages didn’t matter one way or another to me. We are all on equal ground. Raising a child in our world’s current situation. Black, white, 20 or 30, poor, rich, single parent or married. None of it played a part in anything to do with Matt’s schooling or who I let him play or hang out with.
So. That being said, I did the whole single working mom thing today, got both boys off to school and the house cleaned up and laundry started before I went to work. I went to work and knocked out my to-do list and left early to take my 12 year old 7th grader to a college credit meeting, with plans to grab a pizza so I could come home and help Chase with any homework he may have, and Matt should he need it.
We walked into the lobby of the auditorium, and saw several laptops set up on tables with signs stating that we needed to use the computers to sign in. As I did, a gentleman approached the computer immediately in front of me and began to do the same for his child. “Graduating year,” I said out loud. “You’ll graduate in 2023, right Matt? I graduated in 2003 so. . . Yeah. 2023.” And I punched the numbers into the computer. The man in front of me chuckled. ” 2003?! Way to make me feel old.” And stated his graduating year, almost ten years prior to mine. I smiled politely and responded, ” no, I was just a young mom.”
Why the fuck did I feel it necessary to defend my age?!
He didn’t mean to be condescending I don’t think. But his comment got to me, none the less.
We were both in the same boat, there to find out more information on how to further our child’s education.
But good God. How many times am I going to hear how young I am? No one paid attention when he was in kindergarten and I was in my mid twenties. Now that he’s in junior high though, everyone’s sitting up and taking notice. I don’t get it. After 7 years of dealing with the whole school process and 12 years of parenting, now it matters that I’m easily a decade younger than these people? When we’re all doing the same goddamn thing we’ve been doing since the beginning, parenting our children to the best of our ability? Trying to provide them with the best opportunities we can?
And I realize fully he wasn’t being insulting or rude. I’m just over the whole “wow, you’re so young” line.
Yes. I am in my early thirties with two children, one who is about to be a teenager. I also work full time, and help brother to the best of my ability too. And if I do say so myself, I’m doing a pretty decent job of managing it all, considering my age.
Maybe today I’m just feeling overly sensitive, but please people, think before you speak. Age doesn’t matter in this whole parenting fiasco. It’s the effort you put forth.