We've reached 6th grade.
And I have a 6th grade girl at that.
And not one who is into Bieber, boys, or anything that has to do with maturing in THAT way. She doesn't do drama, and isn't interested in crushes. Or fashion. Or gossiping about so and so.
That puts her in a small group.
And sometimes that small group is a group of 1.
How do you explain to an 11 year old - almost 12 - that when she believes she is the "only one that doesn't fit", it's a great myth? That women "don't fit" even into their 40's.
She wants to play football with the boys at recess.
She doesn't want to walk the playground whispering about this boy and that girl.
She wants to run and play. She digs Karate. Is still into Harry Potter. Plays Hunger Games (poor thing is always Rue - but Rue doesn't die in her "The Hunger Games: The Remix.")
She's not into talking about what one is planning to wear a week from Tuesday.
And while it's fine and dandy that those conversations are happening, I know that just as those girls are being perfectly normal 6th graders, mine, who is also fine just the way she is, winds up hanging alone. A lot.
"I don't know where I fit."
Oh, to just wrap my arms around her and say, "You know what child? Any one who comes across as if they know perfectly where they fit, is totally feeling the same stuff you are on the inside."
Only this doesn't help when one is sitting silently at lunch or walking the playground by herself during recess.
So I pray. I pray for a friend. A "kindred spirit" as Anne of Green Gables would say. Just one. I told her to keep her eyes open, for her preoccupation with NOT being asked to sit with that group, or the other group, may be distracting her from actually seeing someone just like her who is also desperately needing a friend of their own.
6th grade. Girls. Friendships.
Couldn't pay me to go back.
And parents of a 6th grader or older have any bits of advice for us???
Joline Pinto Atkins is an actress who also uses the web as her world-wide stage and can also be found writing at The Cuppa Jo, and is the founder and a contributor at Daily Fast Fuel and the newly debuted SlimSavers.com. Joline is wife to one (phew - that's good to know) and mother of two amazing children, aged 11 and 7, who are both named after authors. Addicted to fitness, she is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and sweats out any daily angst by exercising and P90X'ing, and longs for good books, vats of coffee, and an endless supply of buffalo wings - which she will not share with you. So, please, do not ask.