As we approach January, I have been hit with a realization. My boy is going to be starting middle school this year. I don’t know how we got to this point. I truly feel like it was just yesterday that he was walking into preschool without me, and not looking back. I remember feeling bereft then, knowing that he was beginning his own journey, one that did not include me. I know that sounds very dramatic, but in reality it’s true. The minute they leave you behind at the door of the preschool, they are starting a life of their own. A life that has you on the periphery and not center stage, they no longer are attached to your hip, asking for milk and crackers constantly. They are now embarking on a social journey all their own. They will make friends, love teachers, and have a whole life that doesn’t involve you between school hours; whether it is preschool or (sniff) middle school. This fact saddened me when my boy was in preschool. I hated it, knowing that I was working all day while he created this wonderful life of his own. I loved it too, I loved that he was able to feel a little independence, and forge friendships without me. It’s bittersweet watching your babies grow.
I quit working full time when my sweet girl was a baby. I spent much more time with her as a toddler and I felt that even though she was in preschool (half days); I was still very much a part of her life. Now that both of my children are in elementary school, they have their own little lives that don’t involve me, too much. It certainly helps me that I work at their elementary school! I get to sneak a peek at them or see them in the hall daily, and that helps me feel the connection that I so desperately need. I want to always feel connected to my children, and while I encourage independence, I undoubtedly want them to feel that connection with me too. It’s a hard balance, not hovering, but still letting them know you are there if they need you.
My boy will be starting middle school, I really can’t believe it! When I started writing this column, he was my only subject matter, and was two years old! It seems impossible that he will be picking out electives in February. I have been putting middle school on the back burner, until a few weeks ago when my darling boy jumped excitedly into the back seat of the car telling me that he gets to pick electives. What? How are we here already? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but I’m being forced too, not a good feeling for someone like me who has self-diagnosed control issues. We have a parent meeting in a few weeks at his new school and it just feels like this is really slapping me in the face.
It’s exciting and horrible at the same time.
My sweet boy is so excited. I pulled his middle school’s website up just before writing this and had a mini meltdown. How is my unorganized 10 year old going to manage to go back and forth to his locker between classes and get the appropriate books and notebooks, and pens? How is he going to manage switching classes every hour or so? My son looked at me like I was crazy (of course) and stated plainly that, “Mom, it’s fine, everyone knows that’s how middle school works, relax,” seriously? My husband pretty much stated the same thing or in his words, “millions of kids start sixth grade, it will be fine.”