This morning my five year old son told me that he needed to take his lunch to school in a shopping bag instead of the $30 Bakugan lunch thing I bought for him because that is what all of the “cool kids” were doing.
Then he said that he knew he was a cool kid because he had a stuffed dragon.
I kind of wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t worry about the cool kids. The kids that are cool in high school usually have pretty mediocre lives by their mid 20s and nobody even remembers who the cool kids were in their Kindergarten class.
I wanted to tell him to be himself and to have fun. I wanted to tell him that if it made him happy to take his lunch in a hat then that is what he should do.
I wanted to tell him that the cool kids don’t matter.
Of course, I still care about the cool kids. Yes, I care about them much less than I did when I was in 8th grade, but a tiny little part of me will always want to part of the “in” crowd. I know it doesn’t matter. I know I am happy. I know my life is good and I have great friends, but this girl is still in there somewhere wanting to be friends with the most popular girl in school.
Now I’m just hoping that the cool kids have decided against bras to the grocery store because I accidentally left the house without mine on this morning and had to shop in my coat the entire time.
I’m also hoping that my daughter can somehow continue to avoid caring about what the other girls are doing. This might sound sexist but it always seemed like the popularity game affected the girls more than the boys. I would love it if my children could avoid the pain of insecurity.
This week I’ve heard some of the most amazing writers I know worrying about how much they suck. These are men and women in their 30s and 40s who astound me on a regular basis. These are published authors and A-List Bloggers and people whose words have made me cry or howl with laughter.
Maybe the insecurity never goes away. Hopefully it just gets easier. I feel bad for my kids because they still have to get through the worst of it, and they don’t even know it is coming.
And I can know what I know about growing up and still try not to worry about the shopping bags and dragons I can’t predict for them that I know will show up. And I can be glad that he says he knows he’s a cool kid, for now, for whatever random reason. It can’t hurt to store some of that up for the times when I know he won’t feel that way.
Maybe we will get lucky and all they will have to do to be cool is take their lunches to school in shopping bags. I have hundreds of those and I know where to get more when they run out. I bought the stuffed dragon on eBay so I can replace that too.
But the Kindergarten kid who decided on shopping bags owes me thirty bucks for the Bakugan lunch bag.