This sums it up. Every year I write this post. We start school again. How does it go so fast? But seriously -
My son will start Middle School today. When your kids are little, people always say things like "Oh, they'll LOVE preschool!" and "he's so ready for kindergarten!". No one EVER says "Middle School is the BEST". Mention Middle School to anyone, and they all look like they're having flashbacks to their days in 'Nam. When I think about Middle School, I think of K.F. and L. A. telling me I couldn't go out that door, I'd have to go around, or they were going to beat me up. Or the time someone filled the sleeves of my only jacket with wet paper mache, threw it to the top of some cupboards, then when I climbed up to get it, they took the chair away, and I got in trouble when the teacher came in.
I'm doing my best to stay positive - I was truly impressed with the presentation they gave at the school, I think he'll be educationally challenged. I just, damn, I can't keep him safe forever. He's going to be dealing with his own bullies, making his own way. How can I let him go?
How can I not?
In three years he'll be in highschool. In four, he'll have his driver's permit. In seven he'll be old enough to vote. And I know that the world needs him. He's going to be a truly amazing man.
Yesterday afternoon, there was a girl on my lawn. She and her sister were visiting their grandparents next door. They hadn't seen each other in two years. The oldest is JH's age. She's a darling, daring, fiercely smart and loving girl. When we saw her last, she was handling a snake they found in my garden. As she and her little sister caught up with JH, I noticed her twirling her long brown hair in her fingers, lowering her lashes and laughing at his every word. It wasn't put on, it wasn't as though she were trying on behaviors to see what worked, it was as natural as air. It was.... sweet.
I think it went a long way toward giving him the boost he needed to get over his jitters about going to a new school. A big new school with lots more kids and no adults who knows him.
I think maybe that's what I'm not ready for. Not being the center of his universe. Oh, I know he still listens to his Dad and I, I know he still takes our words to heart. But a sweet girl, laughing and talking with you or a good friend agreeing to meet you at your bus stop is better than anything your mom can say. As long as his friends are kind and smart, I'll take it.
I started writing this blog when he was six years old. In kindergarten. Looking back at those first posts, they too, were about how fast it all seemed to be going. I had no idea.
But we still have years left. They aren't years spent changing diapers or soothing scraped knees, they are far trickier. You have to still be that parent, but the cooing and cuddling is replaced with admonitions to "clean your room", "lights out", "be home by 9". With looks and words and "mom, stop touching my head! I just put stuff in my hair."
I'll do my best, which right now, today, is just hanging on to the rails and trying not to cry.
This ride is crazy.