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A Reason to Celebrate!

The Bean is about to graduate.

No, not from obtaining her college degree that she worked so hard for.

Not from earning her high school diploma, having been careful to take all the "right courses" to prep her for college, maintaining that honorable GPA, and gracefully manuevering through all those pesky first rights of passages: driver's license, first kiss, first heartbreak.

Oh, no... she's "graduating" from 8th grade.

How does one "graduate" from the 8th grade, you might ask? Well, basically they show up on a fairly regular basis. The grades they earned will be magically erased to allow for a clean slate for their highschool career, so it's really not about the grades. The vast majority of middle schoolers spent numerous days out of school committed to their monthly and weekly orthodontics appointments, so it's not really about attendance, either. Chorus was pass/fail. Band was pass/fail. Art was pass/fail. And the mandatory guidance class "Building Character" was pass/fail. So they really didn't have to work, just participate. Like I said, they had to show up.

But 8th grade graduation is not be taken lightly as I am quickly finding out.

Formal wear is required. Luckily we found a one-of-a-kind dress at a local hoity-toity shop where the eccentric owner assured us she had purchased only three of that exact dress from her contacts in LA. That's right - the Bean is wearing a dress from the same part of the world where famous people purchase their daily blended iced caramel frappuccino. This data alone has earned her several bonus points with the girls of the class (or so she thinks).

The hair appointment has been made, sacrificing an up-do the day of the event for a weekend cut & highlight. (She'll be one of the disadvantaged students that must *gulp* do her own hair.) The shoes will be - no, must be purchased this weekend.

I am a horrible mother because I haven't allowed my 13 year old to go tanning every day for the past 30 days so she can have that oh-so-unnatural glow on stage. Sorry, but skin cancer for 8th grade graduation? Make it worthwhile - save it for marrying your soul mate.

After the graduation ceremony (thank you, school administration, for the reminder to bring a bouquet of flowers and a well charged camera), there is the class After-Party held at a nearby country club (about a 25 minute drive). And then, of course, there are the weekend family parties that are going on.

Family parties?

Am I really obligated to round up family members so we can cheer the accomplishments of someone who is required by law to attend school? Are they obligated to purchase cards and gifts to celebrate someone who is doing what they're supposed to?

Perhaps I should host a "Thank you for not vandalizing property that does not belong to you" party ... or a "Congratulations! For not smuggling drugs out of Columbia!" soiree....

I guess I'm the most jaded parent in America for not doing cartwheels in the street upon learning my little girl has achieved graduate status of the 8th school grade. But really...

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