The first day of middle school was yesterday.
I suppose I'm okay.
It started out fine, with me just waking up like normal.
Then I looked in the mirror and realized, are those lines, ETCHED in my face, my lines? Is that my skin? My FACE?
Then I went and grabbed some coffee, pretending it was bad lighting.
Drama Girl was already up and dressed. It was the FIRST day of MIDDLE SCHOOL after all.
She'd been nervous all weekend.
I packed her lunch, answered questions about the vague memories of middle school I have, and made sure she had everything she needed.
Then we drove to school. We live in one of those places where it's more than a mile and a half to walk, there's no bus service, and while it's probably fine to walk, if you want your kid to actually get to school on time, you need to drive them.
So I drove and entered the 'kid drop off lane.' I hadn't bothered with make-up, I mean, it's not like I was getting out, and figured it'd just be a quick drop-off, go home, have more coffee kinda thing. This school's drop-off lane extends out onto the main road and works pretty much like the pick-up/drop-off lanes at the airport, only there's only one lane, and inside every vehicle is the same picture: parent driving, child in passenger seat.
It dawned on me, as I waited in line for my turn to drop Drama off, that I had a daughter in middle school. I remembered a scene from Buffy, where Buffy's mom is dropping Buffy off at school to have her day, her life... and it hit me... I'm not Buffy. I can never be Buffy now, either.
Not only am I not Buffy...
I'm Buffy's mom.
Those etched lines in my face. The skin that doesn't look dewy or glowy without product. The fact I have a middle-school daughter. My complete indifference to my morning wardrobe.
While Buffy was out slaying vampires and having all sorts of experiences in life, her mom was driving her around. She was the chauffeur who showed up at the most inconvenient times. The one who grounded her from life, lectured her on morals, punished her for breaking rules...dressed in fairly frumpy clothes.
Not only am I Buffy's Mom, I can't even PRETEND to be Buffy anymore, because, sitting in that car lane, letting my Middle School daughter out to have her experiences, I realized, I'm her limits, I'm her structure and order, her place to go when the world is too much, when the middle school students turn into zombies and vampires that are out for her blood and want to eat her brains, I'm the one she runs to, not to fight them, that's her job, but to hide from them for a while, and to make annoyingly healthy snacks. And if I dress too clever, or too fashionably, and I'm too cool, well, that's not okay, not that it's ever happened.
And not only am I Buffy's Mom, but even Buffy, well, how many middle schoolers know Buffy?
I'm old too!
I think, if perhaps I had just worn make up this morning and jeans, to drop my kid off, instead of 'ahem' loungewear, I'd have not had quite a severe reaction. If perhaps I had gotten up, thrown on some product of some sort, felt a bit spiffier this morning, than I would have been fine.
But, looking at all those spiffily dressed kids, with their long hair and 'pretending to be grown up' 'tudes, well, it had an effect. And as I dropped my kid off, she melded into that group, and I knew, that at that moment, when she melded, I disappeared into that black hole where all kids imagine their parents go during the day.... since parents, and Moms especially, don't actually exist once the child leaves their presence.