Saturday, September 11, 2010

The First Week of School & Other Indicators of Growing Up

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I took my eldest child to his first week of kindergarten and here this week, in a blink of an eye, I have released that same child to his first week of middle school. How could that be? How can time pass so quickly?

Here are two articles that I wrote about that very experience of releasing my child to kindergarten.
Article 1. Article 2.

The memory of that chubby boy whose pants never stayed up and he showed his little butt crack all day, who hated to color and loved to sit and read about Tacky the Penguin and Horton Hears a Who, now meets his friends at 6:50 am and rides his bike to school. He no longer is chubby, but his legs are skinny and his body is trying to stretch and grow out of it’s child-like build – although his face is still cute and round , it still reminds me of that same five year old from six years ago.

For the past eight years I have escorted him to his classes, waited for the bell to ring and saw him off to class and waited at that same door for him to come out. It was difficult to release him to school when he was in pre-school and kindergarten and now it is difficult to release him to moments of freedom, time away from me at middle school.

He loves his moments of freedom, riding his bike with friends away from parents and then meeting his friends after school riding back to his friend’s house. On the first day of his new found freedom he and his friends decided to ride their bike to a local neighborhood park after school and then onto a friends house in the neighborhood. They lost track of time. I waited 45 minutes for them. No call, no text, no message of his whereabouts. They stayed together and stayed within the close-knit neighborhood, but saying I’m used to walking him to class and picking him up from class, this new short-leashed freedom will take getting used to for all of us.

One thing I realized about having a child of drop offs and pick ups, my son doesn’t know the concept of time. When he stepped out of class at the end of the day-there I was. Soccer practice finished and there I was to pick him up. Drama class started and there I was dropping him off. I have gladly escorted him through his life and now I must release him to his own responsibilities. He needs to get to school and then to six different classes and then to our after-school meeting place all on his own accord. This time in life is when I must trust in him and the lessons my husband and I have instilled in him over all these years.

My son enjoyed his first week of school and welcomes some of those challenging classes, but he was surprised by one aspect of the middle school students: their salty language. On the first day of school, his friend was called a double cuss word. When students stub their toe they shout out exploitatives. Even in casual conversation they will drop the “d word,” the “f word,” the “s word,” and whatever other questionable words. Cussing is all around on campus and no one is there to shut them up. A fight might disputes, I’m sure a teacher will be there to break it up – but other than that our sixth graders are away from the comfortable and secure elementary school campus. And we all know middle schoolers use foul language more than the rest of the world. Why? Because they are pretending to be all grown up with their new found freedom using “grown up” words and yet they are revealing their immaturity with inappropriate language. (So, I can't really afford to send them to private school and I'm not of the proper makeup to homeschool, so my children must learn at home how to survive such situations away from home.)

The first week of middle school, or kindergarten, high school, and certainly the first week of college for that matter, is a reminder that our role as parents are very important and all those years of hovering, correcting, and loving will reveal themselves (we hope and pray) when our children are released to those moments of freedom and enabled to make choices on their own.

What challenges or milestones have you experienced lately with your child(ren)?

Horton: There's a tiny person on that speck that needs my help!

Horton: I meant what I said, and I said what I meant.

Morton: [sighs] An elephant's faithful one hundred percent.

Horton: That's my code, my motto.

Katie: In my world everyone is a pony, and they all eat rainbows, and poop butterflies.
Horton Hears A Who - movie

"Tacky was an odd bird, but a very nice bird to have around." ~ Tacky the Penguin

1 comment:

  1. Sharon!!! Ohhh this post made me get all teary-eyed!!! I was walking with you thru each paragraph... i can't even imagine!! I'm feeling a loss and my son is only 3.5 years old. BUT, he started preschool this year, and i feel some of your same emotions.

    The first day... ok, and the second day, i'll be honest... I stalked him! I still get butterflies driving him to school, and I still get emotional when I say goodbye to him on the playground. :( It's tough!

    I always remember what James Dobson says, we have 18 years to instill in them all that we know and believe... and then it's time to let them go and see what they become!

    Of course we'll be on our knees the whole time!
    Preschool, Middle School... all our new times of us practicing "letting go."