Today was your last elementary school field day. I watched your long legs bound across the field. I noticed how steady you were when balancing a ball carefully on a toilet plunger. How can a toilet plunger make a grown woman want to cry? See, it only felt like months ago when you were a clumsy kindergartener. You would run and it still looked like your head was too big for your little body and I could see the frustration rise as you focused on controlling hands and feet that still felt new. You’ve become sure of yourself and in control of your body. The same body that used to live inside of mine.
How can time pass by so quickly when the days have felt so long?
Today, everyone knew your name. I know your classmates and enjoyed small talk with the staff who has helped me raise you. You’ve spent the last six years securing your place in this world and I am so afraid of what is going to happen when your world is completely changed. I pray that your identity is deeply rooted and you will bloom where you’re planted. I pray you’ll continue to have teachers who inspire you and love you well. I promise I will still show up to every event parents are invited to. Right now that sounds loving, but I recognize in the not too distant future that will sound humiliating.
I’m going to show up anyway. You’ll thank me later.
Of all the parts of going to middle school, making good friends is the most important. Who you surround yourself with will impact every part of your life. You’re starting from scratch this year, but there will be groups of friends who are established and you might feel like an outsider for the first time. Please don’t let the desire to fit in dim the light of the wonderful person you are.
You will find your place and your people, but it might take a little time to sort through.
There are going to be new classmates, some who are hurting and want to hurt others in return. There will be kids who seem cool, but make others feel bad about themselves. There will be kids who know way too much for their age and will teach you about things your Dad and I have worked so hard to protect you from. That is scary for your mama, but I will try not to smother you.
I trust you and I trust that everything we’ve been instilling in you over the years will show up in the fruit of your life.
Right now girls get on your nerves. A lot. You tell me daily how irritating their squeals are and how they’re always interfering with your games on the playground. Buddy, pretty soon you’re going to wake up and actually WANT the girls to chase after you. They’re going to stop physically chasing you and instead start doodling your names together on their notebooks and imagining your wedding. It escalates quickly, if I remember correctly.
Middle school is a weird time for everyone.
Your body is changing, hormones will make you feel feelings that don’t seem logical in the moment. Always remember that your Mom and Dad are safe places to come when you feel unsure. I promise to answer any questions you have as honestly as possible, no matter how embarrassed you may feel to ask them. If you don’t ask, it’s still going to be my job to give you information. I remember how much I hated those lectures with my mom so I feel your pain, but we have to communicate with each other.
We’ve never been parents to a middle schooler before, so we won’t do it perfectly but we will learn together. I am so proud of the person you have become and I look forward to watching you rise to the challenges ahead of you. You have come so far and grown so much, but you will always be my baby.