Friday, June 27, 2008

"Sydney White"

I’m all about celebrations. I love commemorating the big events in life that deserve a little extra attention.

Like Fridays.

Fridays are great and should be celebrated. We’ve all nearly made it through another week, and we deserve a little pat on the back. Pizza would be good.

And then there are the rites of passage—the commemoration of moving from one big place in a person’s life to another. Weddings, baptisms, graduations. All important rites of passage.

But, you know, there are certain rites of passage that I just could do without.

Like shots. Why do they make you have shots to enter high school?

I mean, really, wasn’t junior high enough?

Abby, my middle daughter, is going through her own little rite of passage right now--prancing out of the halls of middle school (with nary a backward glance, I tell you) and trudging with trepidation into the halls of high school. But in order to cross the threshold, she has to do with one, teeny-weeny little thing . . . go to the doctor.

So on Wednesday we did it. We made it to the doctor for the high school physical. Her friends had warned her that would for sure have to have shots--some said they hurt, and others said they were no big deal.

I could see Abby’s wheels spinning as we drove to the doctor’s office in near silence. She was clearly nervous.

The physical part was fine, and then the doc let us know that three, possibly four, shots were in order, oh, and could-you-stop-by-the-lab-to-have-some-blood-drawn-too? Abby went white, completely white. She started to back away from the doctor and head toward the door—I thought she was going to bolt!

I finally talked the doctor out of the fourth shot (we’ll go back for that one later), and settled on the three most important ones. Important because the high school has to see that she’s had them and the registration is due in two days! Last minute? Me? Never!

So poor Abby had her three shots and her blood drawn, and she left the doctor’s office looking like she had been through a battle. An awful rite of passage, if you ask me.

Butterfinger Blizzards really do make everything better, though.

Until the next morning when she woke up with a crashing headache, a slight fever, and nausea. Clearly a reaction to the shots.

So the poor girl spent the entire day on the couch yesterday, just feeling awful and really wondering if it might have just been easier to stay in junior high for the rest of her life.

O.K. No.

Late in the afternoon I asked if she’d want to watch a movie with me. She did, but she qualified that by saying, “Mom, you pick whatever you want because I’ll probably fall asleep watching it.”

So after perusing the selections of On Demand movies, we decided on “Sydney White” with Amanda Bynes. All I knew about this movie, other than the fact that that sweet Amanda Bynes was in it, was that it was a modern day re-telling of the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story. Sounded cute.

And cute it was!

Needless to say, Abby never did fall asleep, and I stopped doing what I was doing in the kitchen to sit next to her and laugh for a couple of hours.

The movie is a little bit about rites of passage—a girl going to college and finding out who she is and what she wants to stand for. She decides that she wants to stand up for the little guy (get it?!).

Toward the end of the movie, Sydney is standing in front of a crowd of classmates, making a speech as she’s running for student body president against the evil sorority girl who embarrassed her in front of the whole school.

Here’s what she said, sort of.

“Hi, my name is Sydney White, and I’m running for student body president. My dad is a plumber, I collect comic books, I’m a little afraid of balloon animals, and . . . I’M A DORK!”

Everyone starts cheering and clapping and pretty soon lots of other people, even the “cool” people, are standing up confessing their dorkiness. It was such a feel-good moment that even my own inner dork wanted to come out, to not be suppressed like it is so often, and just hang out with the fam.

The movie was a good reminder that people aren’t always who they seem to be—some are worse, but some are better. We really can’t judge until we get to know them better.

I am sorry that Abby was sick from her shots yesterday, but I was not sorry that we took the time to watch that movie together. I hope she remembers, as she’s maneuvering the hallways of high school for the first time in August, that everyone, EVERYONE, has an inner dork that’s just waiting to come out and play.

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