Lu is in the thick of pre-pubescent social sorting, and, bless her, she is finding (or feeling) herself on the outside. There are the Coder Girls, anointed by the technology teacher, against what rubric and serving what mission, I have no idea. I only know her sadness about seeing herself on the outside. Most recently there's the Ladybug Club, which Lu was either tacitly or explicitly excluded from...because she may or may not have accidentally killed original ladybug "Fat Genius." Not since Biggie's death has there been such a scandal.
Part of me wants to say, "Kid, these are the character years. This suffering and humiliation makes you who you are! Jane Austen was NEVER cool. And you know Judd Apatow wasn't. David Foster Wallace is dead. Shrek?! This outsider narrative is going to serve you well."
Then this other super-healthy tack: "Oh, babe, I had it way worse. I ate lunch in the restroom for the better part of sixth grade. You're doing great."
But what does a non-striving, non-projecting, well-adjusted parent (ahem, me?) say to her extroverted, confident, well-adjusted, isolated, questioning child? I have no idea. Well, I have an idea, when it's an academic exercise, but when it's heartfelt pillow talk...what I REALLY REALLY wanted to say was a bunch of shitty, insulting, protective/defensive things, but I didn't. Somehow.
Tonight, I went with:
I love you. You are an amazing human being.
I've been there. Feeling like you're on the outside is a very powerful and sad emotion, and I know it well. I survived, and you will, too.
I will snap the heads off your enemies. Name them. Their academic and career prospects will be limited with their heads so far from their bodies. (This is our running joke, but I. will. do. it.)
We have been having versions of this same conversation for days. And we will have it so many more (I hope). I love that she wants to have it.