It takes a special set of skills to parent a middle schooler—especially two of them.
But there’s nothing bigger than this one—driver.
The role frequently doesn’t involve planning the event.
They like to do that themselves. Incessantly.
In fact, they will plan entire schedules without your knowledge.
(And at some point, you’ll have to talk with the other parents involved and sift through what is a legit plan, and what isn’t. Most middle schoolers never factor in logistics or the schedules of others.)
No, I’m talking about the constant need to connect with friends.
Whether it’s in person or electronically, there’s something about this season in a kid’s life where the need for friends is as strong as their need for food.
And that’s saying something because they are always hungry.
My wife and I thought we would have a break from the taxi years when our oldest son started driving. But apparently our twin 13-year-olds were standing on the curb ready to hail their cabs.
As a result, many of our conversations resemble the chatter of a dispatcher and cabbie.
“I need a driver to take son 2 to the basketball court over in that subdivision.”
“Okay, home base, but I can’t pick him up because I’m taking son 3 to the mall to meet his friends.”
“Also, friends 2 and 3 are coming over on friday night after the game.”
“When will they be picked up on Saturday because we have that other thing to go to?”
Some weeks are crazier than others.
Frequently, the taxi schedule resembles a 1,000 piece puzzle.
All of it takes a master’s degree in logistics to make happen.
So, why do we bother?
Because friendship is so important.
And at this point in our kids’ lives, friendship is the most important thing to them.
We’re not indulgent. We’re being strategic.
We’re facilitating the influences in their lives. We’re making it work because we believe in them and we also believe in their friends.
And in the process, they are growing, learning, stretching.
They’re not always grateful. In fact, sometimes they feel entitled. And when that happens, we address it. The cab shuts down service for a day or two.
But they get the message, adjust their attitudes, and everything starts back up again.
“Dispatch to driver. I need a pick up, please.”