Guest Blog: Snoqualmie Middle School Mom; The Next Generation

In honor Snoqualmie Valley’s first day of school I would like to share a special guest blog post.  My friend, Lori, recently started her blog, Tainted Fishsticks.  Today marked the start of middle school for her only child.  Lori has some pearls of wisdom laced throughout this thoughtful post about growth during childhood AND parenthood.  Enjoy.  To read more of Lori’s posts visit www.taintedfishsticks.wordpress.com.

On the eve of my son’s first day of middle school, it finally hit me; he’s growing up. After an over indulgent dinner at Red Robin,(Noah’s choice), we drove home to the tunes on 106.1 and 92.5. Yes, I let my son listen to these stations. Save your judgement. As all three of us were singing/rapping along, I looked back at him. It was in that moment, when I turned back, that I saw him grown up. He looked even older than he really does. I saw him a few years from now, as a high schooler. That moment of morphing hit me hard and caused me to tear up a little.

With every moment and every stage of his life, I’ve been in awe and proud. I was blessed with an amazing kid, an amazing person. He’s the only child I was given, and he’s not a child anymore.

Sappiness pause. Stay tuned.

The first day of school is always a landmark in time. It’s a time of change, of newness, of hope, and a chance to maybe do things a little better this time around. With every grade change, there in lies growth, both physically and developmentally. As parents, we work diligently to make sure we prepare our kids for what’s next, and hope we haven’t messed up too bad.

I remember when Noah was a toddler and pre-schooler. He was up before us every morning and always had a plan for his day. He was happy, excited, and had a love for life. I was jealous of his state of mind. One unspoiled by his sheltered world. Noah starting talking the day he was born, I think. And in that time of his life, he told me everything. And he didn’t just tell me, but sold me on the story with fluctuation in his voice and animation with his body. Life was so interesting to him and he wanted everyone to love it like he did.

Elementary school came quick, and before I knew it, I was putting him on a school bus on the very first day of kindergarten. A bus that would take him clear into town. My little baby jumped on and rode away, like it was no big deal. This was HIS time, and he was ready for it. I cried hard that day. Tears of sadness, and joy.

The rest of his elementary school ‘career’ was spent close to home in our neighborhood school. I spent a lot of time with him during that time, and buried myself deep in volunteer activities to make sure that school was running just right. Near the end of his 5th grade year, I started feeling that sense of loss, knowing that my time was near. The time where, I too, would have to leave elementary school behind.

Our kids’ school experience isn’t always just about them. We tend to develop a sense of our identity based on where they are in life. Many times we leave our own self behind and get a little too involved in what is happening with them. Maybe we are reliving that time in our lives, or maybe we just have nothing better to do. The day we became moms, our whole lives and purpose changed. And, somewhere along the way, we might have gotten a little too carried away.

It’s our job to nurture our kids, to love them unconditionally, and to prepare them for life. With no training, and just life experience under our belt, we all do this to the very best of our abilities. Sometimes its hard to recognize that our kids are maturing. They seem to do this a lot faster than we want them too. When we catch ourselves enabling, or just smothering our kids, we have to take a step back and realize the pain of change is tough, but worth the growth in our kids (and ourselves).

I’m not sure I realized how much of a change would happen from 5th to 6th grade. No longer will my son be in the protected walls of the elementary school, and I won’t be there making sure everything is running right. He’s at a school now with outside classroom entrances, lockers, PE uniforms, dances, and high schoolers on the bus. He has 7 teachers, a zip up binder, and loaded up lunch card so he won’t be calling me if he forgets his lunch. On cross-country days, I won’t see him until almost 5 o’clock, like he’s been off at work all day.

I have no doubt that he is prepared for this new season in his life. The question is, am I? Its time for me to refocus on myself, and what I can do for this world, while Noah is off preparing to do the same. Even if I don’t know all of his thoughts and plans, I look forward now to even tidbits of information he gives. He’s not that talkative pre-schooler anymore. He likes to pick and choose what he shares with me, just like every other pre-teen.

With the new school year, and a new school for my son, it’s time to let go more than just a little. I wasn’t allowed to walk him to the school bus, and only got in a couple of pictures of the first day outfit. He got up on his own, showered, dressed, and even made his breakfast. He checked his email and headed off to the bus stop. The very same bus stop I stood and watched him ride off that first day of kindergarten.

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