You know you're in middle school when you walk in the first day and hear an administrator yelling orders in the hallway, and when confronted with an issue by a student you hear the teacher respond, "Sucks to be you!" I guess the days of pats on the back and "don't worry, we'll help you figure it out" for new students is a thing of the past.
And in elementary school when someone mentions a meeting after school what they really mean is, "Parents come and write this down, and students - try to sit still while we talk this out." So when we met the track coach and she invited us to the meeting after school on the third day, I dutifully showed up with my planner in hand and my big, bulky purse slung over my shoulder. This is when I made observation #2: Parents don't come to meetings in middle school. Apparently. And if they do (which they don't) they also don't bring their other children with them to feign death defying duels on the stage in the back of the room while said meeting is in full swing.
I marvel at my gift, because it takes a special kind of person to enter a middle school at the age of 36 and walk out feeling just like the dork I was when I was 13. But my daughter is officially signed up for track, and luckily she is still painfully unaware of how uncool I am, waving at me during all of the meeting intervals and motioning me outside during her laps around the track at the end. I smile, feeling momentarily grateful that while many things are changing, not everything is.