So my Daughter went back to school last week and I just know she is going to have a great year!!! She started 4th grade and I know she has had many concerns about this new year. To give her support and to show her love, I figure I will share some “Memories” of my 4th Grade year..
Don’t laugh but in 4th Grade I was a Geek, a Nerd.. to say the least I was the center of teasing.. ( O.k. so not much has changed but it was hard in school.. Making friends was hard.. and keeping old ones was even harder..)
I learned a lot in 4th grade and none of what I remember learning was from the school books.. I learned life can end in a flash and to treasure the moments that we do have, I learned that people can be cruel and sometimes the littlest things can really hurt.
I’ll start with the lesson I learned on Life..
Our classes played math games at the Chalk board you would have 2 students competing to finish the problem first and correctly.. Who ever won got to stay at the board and the next student would compete to beat the winner.. It was fun and challenging and there were a handle full of us Nerds that seemed to always be at the board. During this particular day, James stood at the board and he was on fire.. Then the unthinkable happened.. James collapsed and though the rest is a fog.. I can remember being sent to the office to call 911 with another boy.. I remember our Class being escorted to another room while the paramedics did their job.. I remember the Ambulance taking James away.. and then it ended.. Everyone talked about it on the bus and it was scary.. I can remember crying and not knowing what was going on.. The next day at school, it was announced that James had died… I don’t remember if there was any explanation or what but there was a sense of loss.. a sense of trauma and Sadness in our class.. A life was ended in a flash and no one could explain exactly what we were to feel and what was to happen now..
Sorry, that I started with that story but I think it is one of the lessons that hit me the most. I truly learned to value life and all that was in it at that moment. I was taught that in a blink of an eye, tragedy can strike… and that at the tail end of the lesson.. I have learned that we need to value each moment we have because life is so short.
On to “Happier” Memories…
I truly learned how to stand up for myself in 4th Grade.. I was called Four Eyes.. I was teased for having a retainer (remember those ugly metal things), I was teased for my name. Now when I tell you the names I was called, please don’t laugh like my mom did! O.k. maybe you can laugh a little, I know I do now, all though I came home crying back then..
So there was this boy who lived down the street, (unfortunately, I do not remember his name but his teasing is what I remember the most) I got off the bus crying, running into the house saying.. ” they called me.. Meredith DentalFloss, or Merri death” I know there were others but these are the 2 the have stuck the most to me.. (Mom, if you remember others please feel free to bring up those memories). I think the worse part of it was my mom Just started busting up laughing.. I mean looking back now it was really funny.. but I did not think so then.. Mom would tell me I needed to ignore it, I needed to stand up for myself.
About a week later, my mom got a knock on the door.. It was the little boy who had been teasing me.. He came to tattle on me because I finally stood up to him, in front of the whole class.. (not sure what was happening but I do remember what I said..)
I said “..At least I don’t have a toilet in my front yard”.. That might not seem like the worst thing to throw back at a bully.. but it felt good and it really was true.. My mom laughed at him.. and Honestly I do not remember him teasing me again… a few Years later ( like 7th grade) when I visited my Dad, I ran into that boy.. He followed me around for a week.. and had a crush on me.. I think his perception changed and all of a sudden I was someone he wanted to date.
People can be so mean.. and a lesson that I learned changed who I was.. I never was a cruel person and I never will be…. A little girl by the name of LaQueen teased me about my retainer and my glasses.. I hated wearing my retainer and it hurt how I was called metal face.. During lunch I had to take out that retainer.. When it came to putting it back in I could not find it.. I was upset, as I thought my mom would kill me.. ( those suckers were expensive).. The teacher looked everywhere. Some how it came out that LaQueen had thrown it away… I can remember feeling sad.. Feeling small and Feeling very hurt by this.. My mom had to get involved at the school, but the looks and the hurtful words hurt more, then mommy coming down to defend me..
I think the worst part of 4th grade was that I had moved into this school at the beginning of the year.. I felt so happy because this was the school my Best Friend went to..(we lived down the street but had gone to different schools). Going to 4th grade changed things though.. She would not talk to me at school, She would not hang out.. and She would be mean and tease me.. I learned that Friendships are very fragile and I lost the one person I thought I could rely on to get me through.. I was very lucky though because I met other girls and joined clubs that helped me in so many ways.
So Fourth grade was hard.. but I survived.. I learned the best lessons of life in Fourth Grade.. And I think that has helped me be who I am today.. People are cruel in this world.. but if you hold your head up tall, don’t let the little things bother you .. you CAN survive..