I just got back from the 6th grade TGIF night at Kate’s middle school. It's a noisy evening filled with music, games and did I mention noise? While we may live in a homogenous community, the personalities in this crowd couldn’t be further apart. As yearbook mom, I am required to relive many middle-school moments. These years can be a both fascinating and horrible. You have more personal freedom, yet your trapped in a body that’s either too tall or short. Boys’ voices teeter between too high and too low. Girls must struggle to survive the increasing pressure of social clicks. As I watch the kids play games, I decide to call this entry “joker’s wild”. In poker, the joker can be any card you want it to represent. "Wild" means that the card can be given any value. At this stage in life, each of these kids feel as if he or she is the joker’s wild. At any given moment, a kid may feel like they are the ace of the deck or the lowly number two. They don’t yet realize their true value is in the fact that they can be any card they want to be. They also don’t understand that in some instances being the two is better than being the ace. That’s what 6th grade is all about. It’s an important time in life when you decide what card you will be. Will you be the jock, the artist, the goth kid? Once you have picked what card you want to be, you will spend the rest of your life finding your card’s value. I love watching these kids pick and choose their cards. Together they make combinations that can be winners or losers. In playing the game, they will all have their moments of great value while at other times they are just happy to be playing. So as this deck comes together, I look forward to seeing them play this great game of life. But let me be clear, I never want to go back to 6th grade. I have spent 40 years with the card I have chosen and I am finally finding my value. Let’s hope these kids find theirs.