Sending the 7th Grader


I don't get it. But then again, I've been told I won't get it. What is it? The behavior of my soon to be 13-year-old daughter. The girl-spawn is close to being a teenager and I've been warned that I have no idea what is in store for me.

We live about 10 blocks from her shool, which is a hop, skip and a jump every morning. Why when I was young, I walked to school... 10 miles, uphill, in blizzards, she has to walk downhill, only on clear, warm mornings. But to get her to do this it takes a fight, a tough-love moment, and a flurry of angry looks that say "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog Toto, too!"

On days when I'm feeling generous, which is most days, I'll pick her up from school, but only after a conversation that involves a heated discussion about the benefits of walking home. This includes: "It's a nice day," "It's great exercise," and "You are saving the planet by making daddy not use gasoline in his SUV."

Do these arguments work? No. They are countered by: "I have too much homework and my backpack is too heavy," "my (insert body part here) hurts and I can't walk," and "I'm going to sit here until you come."

I've tried to wait out the last one out but then I have fears of being called on for neglect when the first Amber Alert of 2009 in Boise is made. So I drive the 10 blocks to pick her up.

On the other hand, the younger boy-spawn is excited to be going back to his old school down the hill, and he's planning on walking, so far.