Opting Out

As we get older, we lose a lot: we lose sleep, our eyesight, and our ability to make it to the bathroom on time.   We also do a lot of gaining: we gain weight, we gain strange new problems with our bodies, and, luckily, we gain insight into the world around us.

After I turned 40, I realized that I was gaining/losing at a rapid rate.  In addition to the above losses, I noticed that I was also losing my hair.  Little by little, due to childbirth, nursing, and way too many perming/straightening/coloring treatments, I started to thin out on top.  I began to look like Mr. T.  And so, like many Kardashian women before me, I got myself some hair extensions.

That’s right.  I’m admitting it publicly: it’s lush, it’s lovely, and it’s not real.

I’m not ashamed.  I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. Nothing on any woman’s body here is real.  However, that’s not why I perfectly fine shouting it from the rooftops.  No, the real reason I can publicly announce “it’s not real” is because those three little words are not dirty anymore.  They are not the ones that women are embarrassed by these days.

The most horrifying words to say out loud in 2015 are: “No honors classes.”

This is the end of the school year, so naturally, it’s time to start intense planning for the next school year.  Before you take out that swimsuit and turn on your sprinklers, you need to plan your child’s entire future.  Now.

Recently, I met with middle & high school guidance counselors to discuss my 12 and 14 year old’s school schedules for next year.  Each time I did, I would begin by muttering some dangerous little words.  Deep breath.. and go. “At my request, my son/daughter will not be taking honors classes.  They are going to opt out.”

Each time I muttered those words, a gleam of excitement and danger would appear in the counselors’ eyes.  It was as if I told her I had smuggled in some pot brownies. She would quickly get up, peek out her office door, look around outside her office and down the hallway to make sure the coast was clear, and slowly close the door shut.  Making sure no one could hear her, she would lean forward and whisper to me, “Good for you.

That’s right.  I’m asking my kids to “opt out.”  I’m asking them to choose to do something so taboo, something so risqué, that one can only tell his or her closest friends about it.  Taking honors classes is the “cool” thing to do.  The right thing to do.  It is the “pinning the bottom of your Jordache jeans” of this decade.

Because to “opt out” in 2015 seems to be equivalent to failure.   But not the way I see it. If choosing less hours of homework and studying means my kids will get more time to do the things they love outside of school, I’m opting in.  Teenagers need to sleep.  They need to relax.  They need to enjoy the world before they get too old to know how to anymore.

Before they start losing their hair.

For the same reason why my husband doesn’t see the need for me to get my fake hair blown out once a week (I can’t do it myself!), many people will not understand this concept.  And just like I try to provide an explanation to said husband (No one is asking you to trim our trees by yourself: that’s why we have a gardener do it!), some people will just not understand my rationale.   But like my weekly blow-outs, some things make perfect sense to me.  That’s all I need to justify my actions.

So yeah, my hair’s not real.  I can’t reach the back of my head to blow dry my hair.  I get facials where they use some sort of a razor on my face.  I had a tummy tuck and liposuction.  I had breast implants (but I got those removed.)  I wear Spanx.

No one cares.  I’m not shocking anyone.

I signed the opt out form.  No Honors English.  Or Honors math.  Or Honors science.  My kids are the only ones whose parents won’t let them pin the bottom of their jeans.

Our kids have enough to deal with these days.  I am trying to eliminate whatever stress I can.  Neither of my kids are bored in school and neither of them are asking for more challenging work.  So I’m not going to force it on them just to stay cool.

And if that shocks you, I totally understand.

I just don’t care.



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3 Responses to Opting Out

  1. george Boutell says:

    HAHA! POT BROWNIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Amy Carney says:

    Darn it. And to think I forced my daughter in to taking that darn paper in today! It is a joke. You are so right, we are afraid that they will be left behind if they don’t take the top classes! Why didn’t you post this earlier in the week? Thanks for your insight and always love the laughs you provide!

  3. Mary Moriarity says:

    Amen !!

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