Weekend 6.12


We’re officially on summer vacation. The last day of school was Friday, and it felt a bit…anticlimactic. Both boys have been on a hybrid schedule, so only half of their class was even there on the last day.

Everybody is just done.

Raines is going into 8th grade next year, which means high school is just around the corner. That thought is nauseating. I can’t quite look at it straight on. Despite the pandemic, the kid had a pretty good year — 7th grade Raines was a pretty different student than 6th grade Raines. He even surprised me by doing the extra credit writing assignment (rare) at the end of the year, trying to get a few extra points.

The assignment was one of those, “tell me what you’ve learned in 7th grade” essay prompts. He went off by himself, wrote for a while, then turned it in. I asked if he wanted me to look over his grammar (nope), and that was it. A few days later he shared his essay with me — proud because he had gotten some nice feedback from his teacher — and I was completely caught off guard by my reaction: tears.

Frankly, I had forgotten how hard 7th grade is. Not just academically, but emotionally and socially, too. I asked Raines if he minded if I shared some of his words here, and he thought for a second, then gave me a little grin. “Sure, Mom,” he said. “It’s a little cheesy, but I meant it.”

7th grade was by far one of the hardest years but I also learned the most I have ever had in my life. I’ve grown, I’ve cried, and I’ve given it my all. 

One of my challenges is the pressure. Let me explain, I have had pressure to get into a good high school and if I don’t it will affect my entire life, and the thought of being judged just makes me shudder. Then there is social pressure to look good, to be good at things and always the thought in the back of your head is that you’re not good enough, or what’s the point? But the name of the game is grit and perseverance and you HAVE to believe in yourself. Kids in 7th grade are just pure savage including your friends and they’ll say mean stuff about yourself and say they’re just joking but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt. In 7th grade it feels almost like no one has your back or is going to come and save you, and that is why I have to be Kind and brave. Kind to your friends know that you’re in it together. Brave if a kid is being picked on no matter what it takes to help them, your friends may make fun of you too but just know that the kid you’re helping has it 10 times worse. Crying is good too, don’t harden your body and just deal with it you sometimes just need to be alone and cry. 

What I would do differently if I went back is try to focus harder on school and also watch out for people. My points of pride… well probably at the end of the year when i’m working my hardest and concentrating on grades.

My advice for the new people is, watch out for your friends but also watch out for everybody even the people you don’t like, 7th grade isn’t meant to be the hunger games. And hey don’t give up what you are feeling or gonna feel is normal and you’re fine, you’re enough.

Where “kind and brave” comes from. I first read Glennon Doyle’s article, “The Talk” years ago (2012?) when it was first published, and it was one of those totally illuminating parenting moments. So much so that I’ve now read it dozens of times, and have had some version of her talk with my own boys, too. It’s this part for me: “We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done. We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.” I am over-the-moon that those are the words, “brave and kind” that Raines thinks about at school. Glennon’s definition of brave is literally the best I’ve ever read.

I guess I wear Danskos now. Gang, I bought this pair of Dansko sandals and not only are they THE MOST COMFORTABLE sandal to ever grace my feet (even more comfortable than Birks) but they look daintier than typical Danskos, and have a cool, vintage vibe. I’ll try to throw something up on social soon, because I’ve been wearing them with all of my cutoffs and Reformation dresses, and I LOVE them. Highly recommend.

Two dressy tops to wear with jeans & cutoffs. I tried on a bunch of sustainably made Reformation tops and most went back: too itchy, too small, too hard to get on. But there were two that completely blew me away. The first was Ref’s strapless linen top (the straps are detachable) that doesn’t dig into my underarm fat and stays up (I wear it with a strapless bra), and the second was Ref’s Liya top, where the ruching is pretty genius for disguising a softer stomach. Fit is pretty TTS, too; I have a small in each.

Speaking of cutoffs…has anyone tried Levi’s mid-thigh 501 cutoffs? The wash is that perfectly faded blue (Luxor Wash), and I’m totally intrigued. I wonder if I buy them a little big and then roll them up sometimes, or leave them down…hmmmm.

The happiest Mike. Mike finally got a chance to try some Vuori pieces, and this tee is literally the softest thing we’ve EVER felt. His new favorite, especially with these shorts or these joggers. (And the board shorts (in black) look seriously cool on.) He’s basically outfitted for summer.

Hey Philly! BalletX, my absolute favorite ballet company — and the ONLY ballet company Mike can watch without falling asleep (ha!) — is finally back with an in-person performance…outside. If anyone is around June 24 – 26, they’re performing some never-before-seen ballets, choreographed to a totally reimagined Bach, Sondheim, and an original composition by Grammy Award-winner Ali Jackson. I’m am beyond excited. We’ve been season ticket holders in the past, and usually take the boys. While BalletX identifies as a ballet company, the reality is that they’re something wildly new and different (which is why Mike (and the boys) genuinely love going). They still have the mad technique of traditional ballet (and the grueling hours of practice that it requires), but the performances are a far cry from the norm. I’m often left breathless. We’ll be there on Saturday, so come and say hi. You can get tickets here.

A reminder, from our friendly neighborhood immigration lawyer. Many of us at TME were really disappointed with Vice President Harris’ recent words on immigration. I can’t imagine how someone like me, another mom, living in Guatemala must feel after hearing the words, “do not come” from the freaking Vice President of the United States. To quote Adam, our friendly neighborhood immigration lawyer (you may remember him from Lex’s 2018 interview), “It’s not illegal to apply for asylum. If you have a well-founded fear of returning to your country because of your race, religion, political beliefs, ethnicity or social group, you have the right to apply for asylum…and have your case heard.”




  1. What lovely words from Raines! I, too, have a rising 8th grade son, but there’s no way anyone could talk him into putting such great thoughts onto paper. Well done! I’m going to try and take the Brave and Kind bits and weave them in to our talks one day. Usually we’re all about “all you need to do is put in your best effort. No half-assing, only full-assing here” Sometimes it works. Great essay, Raines, and it’s not cheesy at all!

  2. Raines, this is incredible. I am sharing it with my son as he enters middle school. Thank you for allowing us to read it.

    On a different note – how did you find the Escape Mail to be? And which level did you pick?

  3. So as a mom with a daughter, I had a really different reaction to that article. Our society burdens women and girls with being caretakers so much that while I obviously want to instill kindness and compassion as important positive traits, they’re NOT what I send my girl to school for. I send her out to get an education and learn and it’s not her job to look after how others are feeling as a primary objective. To be clear I encourage her to be kind and polite as a default, but I am also making sure she knows that no guys (in particular) are entitled to her attention or friendship. She gets to choose where to dispense her attention and the main purpose of her school days is to learn, not look pretty or look after people. #smashthepatriarchy

  4. As a mom with a daughter, I had a really different response to that article. Our society already overburdens women and girls with the expectation that they caretake. While I obviously want my girl to see compassion and kindness and nurturing as positive traits, they’re not what I send her to school for. I send her to school to get an education and learn and I want her to go there knowing that for all the social nonsense, learning is the primary purpose. I would rather her know that no guy (in particular) is entitled to her attention or friendship by his mere existence. Her attention and care is hers to choose where to dispense, particularly as she’s an introvert who finds school days are energy draining. We can be polite to everyone without feeling expected to be everyone’s friend.

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