Today I sent my first born, my baby, off to Middle School. To Middle School!!! I remember Middle School. I was little. I was shy. I felt embarrassed practically all the time and always super self conscious. I was always comparing myself to others and feeling bad if I felt different.
At one point during the orientation today, we parents were asked if we remembered our own excitement at entering Middle School. Several of us chuckled and agreed that it was perhaps a time that we'd tried hard not to remember.
And here I am, the parent of a middle schooler. I've sent my child into this environment. Lord help me. I think turbulent times are ahead. Although, given this last year of preteen mood swings that I've navigated and mostly survived, perhaps I'll be okay.
As with every change, there's a bittersweet feeling of the end of one stage and the excitement at the beginning of another. I've noticed over the last few weeks that Buddy has been really sweet and affectionate, nuzzling in and telling me he loves me. We've had many moments of quiet, where it's been just us and we've had some lovely conversations. We were bike riding buddies this summer, going on one each evening. One day when I asked Ella to come too, he got upset and huffed home. It made me realize that he liked the alone time when it was just us.
I'll take these moments while I can. Yesterday, I changed my plans to exercise after work because Buddy asked if I would take him to get a haircut before the first day. We needed to pick up some locks for his locker, and I'd wanted to have a quiet chat with him anyhow, so off we went.
After getting his hair cut and running a few errands and taking outfit pictures, we stopped in for a drink at Pacific Coffee. We had a little chat about responsibility, especially about when he'll be old enough to go places on his own, like Stanley. He heard my worries and I heard his desire for independence. We agreed that this was new territory and we both would need to get used to each other not always feeling the same way about things. And that's okay.
It was good. But I also think that I'm about to enter the hardest stage of parenting, yet.