WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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*totally* not worrisome worries

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Yesterday I had a conversation with my 11-year-old daughter, Louise Gray.  She just started middle school and is working hard to negotiate this new world.  Our talk reminded me of how much time, age, and experience can change things and, at the same time, not change a thing.

LG:  Mom, can I read you the paragraph I had to write for Language Arts?

Me:  [to myself:  is that English?] to LG:  Sure.

LG:  OK, this, like, totally isn’t true, OK?  We had to write a paragraph about what we worried about in middle school.  So, you know, I’m not worried about anything, really, but it’s an assignment, so I had to make something up, OK?

Me:  Got it.

LG:  OK, so remember, this isn’t true or anything.  Well, the first part is, but the rest isn’t, got it?

Me:  Got it.

LG:  Here it is.  “Middle school is great!  These first few days of middle school have, however, come with a problem.”  Remember, this totally isn’t true, I just had to do the assignment, OK?

Me:  OK.

LG:  So anyway, “I am sometimes scared that people won’t accept me for who I am or they won’t want to make friends with me.”  Which, you know, totally isn’t true.  I don’t worry about that all, right?

Me:  Right.  Go on.

LG:  “This is hard because I know I need to make more friends, but I am scared to.  I want to get over this fear, because, in the end, I think friendship wins.“ So, remember, it’s totally not true, but do you think it’s OK?

Me: I think it’s better than OK.  I am so glad you don’t worry about that stuff, because, I have to tell you, I worried about that exact stuff in middle school.

LG:  You did?

Me:  I did.

LG:  Why?

Me:  Well, I didn’t quite fit in to any one group.  Sometimes I was OK with that and sometimes I wasn’t. Make sense?

LG:  Yep.  When did you stop worrying about that stuff?

Me:  Total truth? 

LG:  Yep.

Me:  Sometimes I still worry about it.

LG:  Seriously?

Me:  Yep, but I don’t worry as much and the worries don’t feel so worrisome and I can usually giggle afterward.

LG:  Hmm.  I’m glad I don’t worry about that stuff.

Me:  Me too.

Whitney Cain