Grasping for time to stand still
My children have inherited my sentimental nature. When something comes to an end, like the school year; together, we wallow in melancholy over what has passed. We should revel in the triumph of what’s accomplished! We should look forward to something new and exciting! But we don’t always.
Maybe it’s because change is hard. I like routine and consistency. It seems like the first few days after the school year is over, we feel a little bit lost. Sure we go and do fun stuff with our friends and we get to sleep in, we like that part. But the regularity of seeing friends day to day, and going to a place with purpose, we miss. My kids actually kind of like school.
If you please, may I also languish in the fact that my babies are going into high school and middle school in the fall?
Let me say that really slowly. H I G H S C H O O L and M I D D L E S C H O O L.
Pass the paper bag and smelling salts.
Why is it so hard as parents to want our children to achieve milestones, and yet it rips out our hearts a little bit to see how quickly time flies?
My daughter will be a freshman. Maybe I should be more concerned for her heading into high school. But she’s my little miss independence and I’ve never really worried about her. She does well on tests, has been in honors since 2nd grade and keeps us all on our toes.
Am I scared she’ll meet a boy and want to spend all her time with him and ditch us? Yes. And then I’m scared she’ll get her heart broken. I’m scared as hell for her to start riding in friend’s cars when those friends get their drivers licenses.
But more than that, I’m scared she might do nothing. That she’ll just coast through and not find a club to join or calling to carry her through college. How ridiculous is that? First I’m freaked out how quickly she’s growing up, and now I’m rushing her through her future. Panicking.
More than anything I’m terrified for my son entering middle school. He’s my baby. He has always been my mama’s boy. But this year in 5th grade has been a huge stride of independence. He spends more time at his friend’s house than at home. He has a cell phone and I trust him to use it and he does. He’ll spend the night at his buddies’ house and walk to the Starbucks on the corner with them. Or they will take their mitts and bats and head to the park to play ball.
I let him do all these things but inside it’s tearing out my heart. I say prayers over and over in my head to keep him safe. That he remembers all the rules and doesn’t encounter any weirdos. That he’s safe by the street and always watches traffic. That random mishaps don’t occur around teen and tween boys that cause someone to go to the ER for stitches. How much I miss the days of watching Thomas the Tank Engine over and over on the couch! At least he was safe and snug next to me.
Now he’s going to be off to the big bad middle school (it’s not that bad really, it just seems so much scarier than elementary school) which he seems to be handling fine, but lately will tell me how nervous he is.
He wants to make friends but the right kind of friends. He’s afraid of getting in trouble for breaking some rule he didn’t even know existed. He had heard when Emma got detention for going down the wrong staircase at lunch time. They have hallways for different grades and she was in the wrong one apparently without a pass.
And while he’s scared of these things, I’m scared for him too. I’m scared of his self esteem getting crushed by some punk ass 8th grader trying to ruin his day. Or maybe a teacher on a power trip, or someone making fun of his skinny jeans (it’s happened before).
I guess what all this means is, I’m just scared. How do we parent and not be scared? I guess- we don’t.
So while I will relish in the time I get to myself with each day of increased independence of my kids, I will not take for granted the time I get with them that seems to flash by before my eyes.
And I will try not to grip so tightly to yesterday but breathe deeper about today.
ABOUT REBECCA: Rebecca Gallagher is a SAHM to a teenager and a tweenager. A recovering aspiring actress, she laughs at herself on a daily basis. As Editor of The Bedroom, Rebecca delights our readers, just as she delights her own readers at Frugalista Blog. Rebecca has contributed to three Amazon bestsellers as well as being featured on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room and is a Huffington Post Parents contributor. When she’s not writing, she enjoys donuts too often, and exercise too infrequently. She has an addiction to makeup and beauty products and an obsession with Daniel Craig.
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