I know you have seen this blog start this way before ... while I logically process that my first born child is now in middle school and 11 I somehow am still shocked to see that on paper.
This week a flurry of school notices and bus schedules have reminded me that next week my child is going into middle school.
Whaaattttt? First that means that summer is almost over, sigh and sadness because the beach and this time of year is by far my happiest place, and second it means that I have to get over myself and stop looking to make every day Throwback Thursday with pictures of when he was but a small boy.
Middle school - something a little scary from what I hear from some - after all now there will be these 8th graders with hormones, something to prove and pre-teen angst surrounding my boy, and his friends, who are so much smaller. The terrors in my mind far outweigh anything actually based in reality of course. I was a mess with the school bus when he first had to take it, and though at times I was proven right that it is a yellow moving school of inappropriate discussions and some strife, and that turned out better than I thought. For those of you who grew up in the 'burbs the school bus held none of the worries this girl who took graffiti, crime infested subways had because after all I could navigate that scenario better than this bus thing, what if someone didn't let my son sit down, what if they were mean to him, what if there were things told to him about everything from sex to other misinformation - ok so the sex and misinformation did happen here and there but it was manageable.
So here we are - he will be fine, they sort of sequester the 6th graders on a different floor from the others but my son has some anxiety about being late for class when they switch, forgetting his locker combo and of course the whole idea of being expected to now be more responsible. I can help him walk through his schedule along with the other kids at open house, I can help him remember his locker and combo but I cannot do the one thing that probably scares me most - help him grow up unscathed.
I do not want to have him be small forever, he will always be my baby along with his brother, but I want the world to be that much kinder to him than it may be. I want dangers to revolve around things I can somewhat control - falling off a slide, learning to walk, learning to not do something just cause I say "no". It scares me to think of drugs, sex before he is ready, bullies or just plain scathing meanness - I know it was not always easy for me with these things and I do not want his pain yet it is that pain, that ability to know when to walk away, when to say no to drugs because you just don't want to do it and don't feel you need it even with what are your world of friends, that probably helped me grow the most. I am coming to grips with the fact that for him to grow up he needs to learn to navigate and bounce back from these things while never losing sight of the fact that we have a good relationship. A relationship that will mean I may not like what he tells me but I will always be there to help him.
So off to get his school supplies, to show him he is ready and he has this because it will be one of many good memories he will have much like I do. I will help him see that a bad day will one day be a memory that makes you laugh at how much importance a non-important event got. He will get to middle school, get through it and be on his way to (YIKES) high school before I know it. He is surrounded by friends that are great and most of all he is a confident boy who has overcome some things in his life that have already taught him that it isn't always easy.
I will continue to love looking at his pictures, toothless and in diapers, but I am getting ready to look at my baby walk into middle school and onward to his future.
As he goes here are a few things I want him and his middle school friends to know;
The most popular kid - be this by being yourself, being confident and most of all be kind to others - nasty wears out soon enough
The opposite sex - you are too young in 6th grade to think of more than a kiss and a glance - but that kiss will be all you think about and if it doesn't happen there is always 7th grade - a good kiss is much better to wait for than a lot of bad ones
The work is bit scary - but you will get through it and at some weird random moment in adulthood will actually recall some fact you learned then and impress someone with your ability to master word problems until then I know who cares how fast the car is going to get Wendy to her destination
Bullies - tell someone and let me know - at times you may need to hit last but let's try and avoid that - don't be one, see point number one
Drugs, smoking, alcohol - oh boy, they are just not good for you because they will take away your ability to choose - they will choose for you, they will choose your friends, take away what you like to do and replace it with momentary happy and lots of misery - so don't start and I am here always for you to think of how to avoid these things
Sadness - feelings get intense around now, this is ok, how can I help or if I can't I promise it is not always this much of a rollercoaster
Your parents are not as clueless as you think - we were there once, awkward and wanting to be cool too, thinking of all the same things you are - you can roll your eyes when I walk away but walk toward me anytime you need, I may surprise you with what I can help with
ENJOY the year kids ... you all make me proud and happy to know what a future looks like from what I have seen with my sons and their friends/classmates.
This blog was approved for publishing by the middle school son :)