"You should go. You'll meet some new kids." my mom said.
"Yeah." I whispered, lying and just dreading it. I had no choice. She would make me go whether I wanted to or not. That's how it worked in our house.
"It's a fundraiser for the church youth group. You're going. It will be fun!" she said in her perkiest voice. I hated this perky talk. It really made me cranky.
Ugh. Why does she make me do this stuff? I don't want to meet new kids. I would rather poke my eyes out than hang with these geeky church kids at the youth group car wash. I seriously hate her sometimes. She is little miss happy and "lets make friends!" I do not want to make any friends. I wish she would leave me alone.
Moving sucked. I had my story. "No, we're not in the military. My dad is a really smart executive in the airline industry. He's in ops. He gets promoted a lot. So we move a lot. I've never lived anywhere longer than four years." I would say. "I know all our home phone numbers."
It was lonely always moving to a new town. And scary. You'd go into a new school and everyone would look at you. I was always known as "the new girl." All the geeky kids would come up to me and be super nice and friendly. But they were never the ones that I stayed friends with. I'd eventually find the group of kids that I fit in with and leave the original greeters. I know some of them got their feelings hurt. I did feel bad about that. But how was I to know they were geeks?
And then there were the church youth groups. They were always really tough. Once we joined the church I was stuck. Doomed to participate in the youth group.
My parents loved the church. Mostly for the social aspect. My mom sang in the choir. My dad was always a lay reader and on various committees And they were always involved in the youth group. They had four kids of their own. And still loved being involved with all the kids even becoming the youth leaders. This was great for them. But for me it meant that they were always there. Always. I never went on a campout, or bowling event, or anything without them.
They were way more social than me. They lived in the moment. They didn't dwell on the fact that we wouldn't be there forever. They had friends the minute we moved in. I had a hard time doing that. I was a little jealous of their care-free attitude. They laughed and had the best time. I wanted to. But I couldn't. I felt like an outsider looking in.
So here we are in another new place. At another new church. And the youth group is having a car wash to raise money to go to church camp. Great. I don't really want to participate in the group and I really don't want to go to camp. But I will be a sport and I will go. 'Cuz that's what we do in our family. We put on our happy face and we go. Whether we like it or not.
My mom has trained us (kids) well. So I'll be the hardest working 8th grade car wash girl you've ever seen. The harder I work, the less I'll have to socialize. No one will complain that my windows are streaky. I've been trained by the best.
I know all the other kids will be laughing, and squirting each other with the hose, and throwing soap all over the place. I kinda want to do that too. But I don't know them. And they don't know me. So I'll just hide in the back seat cleaning windows watching them. I'll feel jealous that I'm not on the outside of the car. I'll watch the pretty girl smile and flirt with the cute guy. And I'll wish I was there too. But it's much safer in here.
Someday I won't be the new girl anymore and things will be different.
**This was a TRDC writing assignment. We were to look at this photo and write about something we remembered. My story is mostly true. 8th grade was a long time ago. So don't hold me to the facts. I'm sure everything wasn't nearly as rosy for my parents as I imagined. Moving every few years could not have been easy. I know that now. But they never let it show.