When a twelve-year-old prays, I am certain God is listening. When a 12-year-old asks God to change their personality so they can be like Debbie Kolody, who never gets in trouble, I am certain God is laughing. I knew if God would just do SOMETHING, anything, to help me keep my mouth shut, and from trying to control my 6th grade class, life would be less stressful. blogsurfer.us At 12 I prayed; really it was more like begging, “please God, please, make me more like Debbie Kolody, I want to be able to sit still and NEVER get in any trouble again!”
Wondering if ‘it worked’ I fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning I sat in bed and tried to speculate on any changes…I sure didn’t feel different, but I was excited. Maybe God did it! Maybe I was going to be more still today and controlled. At breakfast I tried out my new personality. I poured my cereal with a quiet attitude and ate at the table instead of in front of the TV. So mature! While looking for a pair of matching socks, I didn’t complain, even though the closest match I could find were white, but had different patterns. Knee socks should match. What would Debbie Kolody do? I knew her mother did laundry, so maybe she would panic like I wanted to panic. I went through the sock dilemma everyday, so this as well as my frustration was old news.
That morning I sat in my desk and looked around at the others as they meandered in. I smiled and waved, I was trying to be quiet. Debbie was already in her seat, so still, so perfectly still. She had on a dress that day. I remember seeing her slip and her matching knee socks. She was so clean and crisp. I knew she went to church and she knew about Jesus. I knew Jesus, too. My mother would yell his name often while in traffic. And I knew His birthday. That was it. A few of my classmates were Catholic and would talk about church. I was invited once to go with Linda’s family, my 6th grade best friend. The getting up, sitting down, crossing, repeating stuff- I was so confused, but happy. I heard about Jesus- and felt pretty good about it.
When Mike Belko walked in the class that morning, my attempt at change was over. He walked in just as George Knight did and they were talking smack! We had a kick ball tournament going on and we were all very competitive that year in Mrs. Quinn’s class. I stood up and pointed to Belko, and while jumping up and down I yelled, “You have cooties and we are going to beat your cootie-diseased team today!” Then chaos. All the boys were yelling I was still yelling and the game was ON! It wasn’t even opposite day, I meant all that I said!
“Kim! Kim! Kim! You sit down and be quiet right this minute. STOP IT NOW!”
Then Mrs. Quinn gave me that look. That look which is a cross between a mother and a nun, which I think Mrs. Quinn had been both. She was really good at the look, and I sat down, ready to cry. God didn’t change me, I was still in trouble, I was nothing like Debbie Kolody, who by the way, sat there and watched as we all got reprimanded.
I was stuck being me.
Back in those days kids like me were called antsy, gifted, leader. Now kids like this are called by a disorder. And they are drugged. I believe there are some kids who are truly out of their heads with inability to focus due to some sort of physiological genesis- but a lot of kids are like I was- taking in my surroundings all at once. I could never be still in school, and I did fine. I was a straight ‘A’ student until I became a house-hopper. If I was drugged I would never have been able to figure out that there was already a Debbie Kolody. I was just me- and that was good enough. Cooties and all.