A few days ago the girl child got her bottom braces off. Don’t look so shocked. My Vampire readers know that sometimes things get weird (just like with any creature with teeth). It is especially important that young Vampires get the proper dental and orthodontic care. Yes, it is true. We don’t sparkle but we do make sure our teeth do.

So off I went to the orthodontist. Hurrah! Braces off. Oh no, we had to go back later that day for the retainer.

But I had to do some work first. Off I go to finish up some illustrations and drop them off. Five hours later I drive back to pick up the child and take her back to the orthodontist. Hurrah!

Next we were heading off towards school to pick up books, class shirt, pay for the year book and take care of general school business. It is a mad dash but we’ll make it on time. About a block from the school Clara discovered she’d left her student body card at home so I made a brilliant U-turn and some creative navigation in traffic and we headed back from wince we’d come.

Side note: Now, I know some of you hard core parents would say “you should NOT have gone back. You should have made your child get the books the first day of school and haul ALL of those heavy books home and pay more for the yearbook blah blah blah.” But you know, my kids are great and I’ve been turning around for lunches, school project, backpacks, skates, ID cards and all sorts of assorted items for years. Shit happens. We all forget things. “Teaching a lesson” in this case would only make my kid think I’m an asshole. I CAN be an asshole but only when it is really needed, which at this point in the parenting game it is rarely needed.

Upon arriving at the house I found my brother Val and the ancient Vampire Tellias waiting for us. “Get in,” I yelled. “You’re going to school with us.”

This was a risky idea considering the havoc when male Vampires show up anywhere during the day. Women can’t resist them. So at a school it is especially bad and inappropriate, but I didn’t have time to worry about that. These two usually behave. Usually is the key word here. Compared to my brothers Max and Andrew these two will be fine. Compared to bringing my husband… oh my goodness, but anyway… there is a lot more to school than showing up with a slate and a piece of chalk.

Despite his ancient years (over 2,000) Tellias looks very young. He looks like an extraordinarily attractive 18 or 19 year old to them, not an ancient Vampire who was around during the time of the Roman Empire.

Teens gathered around each other like long lost family members or fluttering butterflies in the school hallways. Many were escorted by parents because A) they can’t drive themselves and B) mom’s have money and C) all those books are really heavy to walk home or take on a bicycle when it is 100 degrees F outside.

All of the teens welcomed presence of the stunning young man with Clara. They asked where he went to school and if he was a Senior or if he’d just graduated. The girls were all wondering if he had a girlfriend.

Clara’s friends asked if he had a girlfriend. That made him laugh. They wanted his various other social media accounts. He declined and gave them sweet fangless smiles.

To his credit Tellias didn’t lead anyone on or pretend to be a boy. He just smiled and said he was older than he looked, and that he was Clara’s uncle. He inquired about classes and how the teens thought their year would be. The kids answered as if they’d known him for years. There is nothing more charming than an old Vampire, even if he looks like a teenager.

Later he said to me, “Everyone acts like I’m some senile old fool. These young people see me as exciting and unique. They think I’m sweet and interesting AND cute.”

“You are exceptionally sweet and interesting and cute,” I said, “but when you lose your car keys for weeks on end, forget to eat, kidnap handy men and law enforcement officers, lock yourself in your basement, then call me wondering if I can drop everything and come make everything right in your world…”

“I don’t HAVE to call you Juliette. You don’t HAVE to help Eleora and me,” he said with a slightly annoyed tone.

“Yes I do. I want you to call me. I want to help.”

He shook his head and took my arm. “You’re going to be the death of me.”

I smiled. “Me? Really? I seriously doubt that.” He failed to mention that he calls me constantly asking for my help.

He squeezed my arm in a grip that would have made any Regular Human scream but I wasn’t hurt by it. “I like being around young people, especially young Vampires. They’re absolutely charming. Next time you take Clara to a concert I want to come along.”

In the meantime Clara was introducing her Uncle Valentine around. I could literally hear knees weaken from the adult women on campus. Sigh. Vampire men will do that every single time.

The Werewolf triplets were there too getting their books and school sweatshirts. I thought how fortunate it was that the full moon had passed before the first day of school. Val thought they were weird. Of course they’re weird, but they’re Werewolves. What did he expect? But they’re brilliantly smart and kind of cute in their own geeky Werewolf way.

The school staff and other students have no idea of the unique underground population of  Vampires, Werewolves and others who attend this large and open high school. It is best we keep it that way.

Sure I could send my kids away to some weird school where everyone is a Vampire, but I love the fact that my kids have friends who are different than they are. There are so many different opinions and points of views. They learn so many life lessons every single day. And I’m not just talking about the students. There are so much diversity in the teachers with different backgrounds and insights. I can’t tell you how many times my kids have quoted teachers, talked about their teachers and been encouraged and influenced by teachers in a good way.

I met the school librarian and asked her about giving a donation to the school library. They get little, if nothing, from the great state of California. Like all school employees she can stretch a dollar in ways that defies all laws of physics and economics.

I challenge everyone to make a donation be it big or small to your local school library. The high school libraries are hurting. The librarians, teachers and the kids appreciate it. Belive me, I’ve listened to the kids – they really appreciate it. High School kids aren’t a bunch of lazy losers. Most of them work hard and have a bright future ahead. And remember, these are the people who will take care of you when you grow old. They will one day be the keepers of the knowledge that makes us who we are. Make sure they’re educated well.

Today is the first day of school. I’ll get the rundown on the new teachers, new friends, old friends and all the weirdness this afternoon. With any luck I’ll have some stories to share with you – and with any luck not all of the drama of last year.

Have fun and learn something!

Why yes, this is exactly what I wear when I pick the kids up from school.

This blog post was first posted here in 2014. My daughter is now in Graduate School at USC. High School seems like a million years ago, but it was an important time in her life, and in the life of her brother, and her friends.

As always stay safe, wear a mask when asked to, get vaccinated, hug your kids, and talk to your kids. Keep the lines of communication open even after your children are grown and out of the house. Check in on those who are elderly, alone, or might need extra help. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. And kiss a Vampire (you’ll thank me for it later.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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