Pony is now in the eighth grade, and is taller than I am. Her mind is such a fascinating one to me--she has such depth and kindness, which I hope has something to do with me. Her wit, however, is purely her own.
She reported this exchange the other day with a friend of hers, a beautiful African-American girl. Leslie is tall, and lanky, with gorgeous dark skin and a fabulous collection of tiny braids. She is vivid, funny, a complete daredevil, and a delightful friend. They were discussing a plan, long abandoned, where Pony and seven of her friends were going to be "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" for Halloween.
L: So, who was going to be Snow White?
P: [Names a mutual friend]
L: WHAT?!? Why her? She isn't the "fairest of them all!"
P: So, who should be then?
P: Girlfriend's been in the sun too long!
Now maybe, when written out, this seems a little harsh. Maybe. But that is something that has been so amazing about Pony's school and her classmates--they have a deep and abiding affection for each other that blunts any blows. Leslie's comment that their friend wasn't the fairest of them all was truly just a set up to make the following assertions that SHE was. There is a wonderful mix of kids, who are so supportive of each other, so accepting of each other, that even when they are riding each other, they are doing it with affection that shows through.
Sure, there are knuckleheads, and mean kids, but they seem to be the exception. Even kids who were mean in sixth grade are now cool as eighth graders. I can totally see how Leslie would have laughed her ass off after that little exchange, and I admire Pony for her ability to deliver what could have been a nasty comment in exactly the right tone, with exactly the right amount of trust, that the entire thing was not only funny, but a bonding moment.
Yes, yesterday I said raising kids is hard work, and it is. But the joy you get back? Priceless.
Edited to add: I should also take a moment to mention our "Snow White." In a very real and literal way, she is the fairest of them all. Besides being lovely herself, and with a terrifically engaging charisma, she has a complexion that Scarlett O'Hara would sell Tara for. Her skin is so fine and delicate that it is rather a lot of hassle for her, poor thing, trying to keep sufficiently protected against the not-so-fierce Minnesota sun. It may be a pain for her now, but what a beauty feature it will be once she is in a position to appreciate it!