September already. It just is not possible. School has started, summer (at least on the calendar, if not by the weather) is waning and there’s a feeling of rejuvenation in the air.
I remember what it was like to start a new school year, excited about the possibilities ahead, eagerly awaiting that first day, wondering what your teachers would be like, what type of class schedule you would have, if there would be any ‘new kids’ that moved to town over the summer.
My daughter has started her final year of junior high and that, also, is not possible.
She is at the age where I, as a parent in general and hers specifically, can be alternately embarrassing, the worst mother in the world, the coolest mother in the world, a friend, a taskmaster … and seemingly very often in rapid succession.
She was looking over last week’s issue of the paper and querying as to whether my column was in it.
“No,” I told her. “My column runs the first week of the month.”
Which of course happens to be this week.
“What are you going to write about?” she asked me on Wednesday of last week.
“I’m not sure,” I answered honestly. “I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”
(Column deadline is noon Friday … I still had plenty of time.)
“Write about me,” she offered cheerfully.
Strange, I thought. She usually doesn’t like it when I share her latest adventure in print.
“You get upset when I do that,” I reminded her.
“Only because you write the embarrassing stuff,” she said.
“You’re 13,” I pointed out. “Almost everything you do is embarrassing.”
(Not really, but that’s the way she currently views the world. When you have to duck down in the car because the kid that sits next to you in class might actually see you in a vehicle with your mother … oh, the horror of it all!)
She just smiled and informed me that I was the embarrassing one.
Got to love that mother-daughter relationship.
Like most teens, she is good at telling half the story. For instance, calling to see if she can go home with a friend from school and spend the night “because her mom said it was OK.”
Well, yes, her mom said it was okay to go home after school; seems both 13-year-olds neglected to actually use the words ‘stay overnight’ when they asked the mom if she could come over. Details, you know, are just such a bother.
One of the things that at times she can’t stand and other times is proud of is my job. She really dislikes the hours it requires but does occasionally get to do some unexpected, exciting things. Like recently when I was taking my camera in to the office but then noticed a huge plume of smoke just up the street.
“Bring the camera!” she hollered as I hurried back to the car and we rushed off to the scene.
It was a small garage on fire, with the flames really at full throttle when we got there. As I took photos for the paper, she marveled at the people that just came to watch. Thick black smoke and bright leaping flames will do that.
All three of my kids (two older boys and the teen girl) have had their time to spend ‘on the beat’ with me over the years, from football games to library programs, school concerts to auto accidents. The latter I wouldn’t normally take them on unless I had no choice. Some accidents you just come upon in the course of driving and, naturally, my camera is with me just about everywhere I go, so how can I not stop?
Inevitably, when my daughter is out and about with me, particularly in Escalon, she is amazed that I can’t walk from Point A to Point B without being stopped by someone that knows me and just needs to tell me this or that, give me a news tip, comment on a column or a story … she will sometimes ask “are you famous?”
Famous? No. Infamous, maybe. Well known in a small town with a local newspaper? Yes.
But that’s part of the fun. We’re able to connect with our readers and, especially through our monthly columns, share our ups and downs, hopes and fears, victories and defeats. It’s life.
And hopefully, every once in a while, I’ll have another embarrassing teenage moment, courtesy of my daughter, to share with you.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times and The Oakdale Leader and assistant editor for The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.