Do you remember when you were pregnant with your first child and everyone warned you that your life was about to radically change, but you didn’t really grasp the enormity of that statement? Guess what? It happens again when your first, or, in my case, only, child goes to middle school…and I’m a little shell-shocked.
It started on the first day. He decided that he wanted to walk to school with a couple of the kids from the neighborhood – so, at 7:25 in the morning, I watched him walk away from our house wearing a backpack that was almost bigger than him. After shutting the door, I had the sense that my little baby bird had flown the coop. He no longer needed me to drive him and walk him into school as I had done in kindergarten, or pull up to the drop off line at elementary school, he was self-sufficient – getting himself to school on his own. Cue the tears…
That was just the beginning.
He tells me that he loves school – words that make a mother’s heart leap with joy – particularly his social studies, science, and Spanish classes. He says that changing classes makes the day fly by – and unlike the 20 minutes for lunch they received in elementary school, they get a full 40 minute period for lunch. He’s made some new friends, wants to attend the school dance in October, and was invited to his first boy/girl party (yikes!). He thinks his lab partner in science has a crush on him (and I have an unconfirmed suspicion that he has a little crush on her too).
At every elementary school open house night, I could always spot my son’s desk upon entering the classroom…it was the one with all the papers haphazardly hanging out and books squeezed in at odd angles. Somehow, all the organizational tips and lectures that he received from his 5th grade teacher must have paid off. The three-ring binder that contains all his work seems uncharacteristically neat. Note: I have not seen the interior of his locker, so I’m not making any claims that’s he’s fully embraced the principles of organization, but I have faith that he’s on his way.
He seems more confident and suddenly has taken an interest in his appearance, carefully combing his hair into a boy-bandesque swoop over his brow and cleansing his skin with Stridex pads twice a day. He’s come to me in the morning more than once to ask, “do this shirt and these shorts match” – this was the kid who wore a tie-dye t-shirt with plaid Bermuda shorts to school last May.
On Sunday night he asked to watch The Simpsons season opener – I didn’t even know that he knew who the Simpsons were…what ever happened to Spongebob and Adventure Time? I think most of the risqué things went over his head…maybe.
This morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table with him as he ate the frozen waffles that he prepared himself for breakfast, and he asked for a sip of my coffee. Coffee? Really? This is new. He’s almost 12, so I let him have a sip. After all, he is growing up.