Monday, August 31, 2015

Hi Ho Hi Ho, Off To Middle School They Go

One week from tomorrow they start middle school. It sounds dramatic but in our small school in our giant school district, the move to middle school is not terribly noteworthy. They will be in the same building, the one that's been home since kindergarten. They'll have some of the same teachers, and some new ones, as is the case every year. They'll eat lunch in the same place, go to the same library and gym, and if they would like, they may still play on the same playground. And even though it's not a huge change, they will be part of the middle school, which means something, certainly to them. Right now they see very tangible differences:  no Halloween costumes on October 31st, at least not at school (big plans are in the works for after hours, presidential hopefuls are being discussed); lockers (logistics of which are causing some confusion); after school walks to Starbucks; new students in a classroom of nine that has not changed much since kindergarten. They see what they can hold on to, I see what I cannot.

Middle school is the start, as was kindergarten, of something new. The first day of kindergarten was rough, I expect nothing less from this year.

It's another leap away from childhood, another easily identifiable marker in the move from my life to theirs. And that, despite my first day of school weepy self, is a good thing. They are doing what they are supposed to be doing: they roll their eyes at all the appropriate ten year old times, they abhor my musical selections and they cringe when I even threaten to dance. But they love me, and they still find some measure of pleasure in spending the day with me, even if it's biking around town in search of an elusive Spanish pepper (no luck on that).

Milestones have a way of creeping up and forcing you to take stock. The beginning of middle school warrants at least a few looks back: Have they fallen down enough to know how to put on a band-aid all by themselves?  Are they still sufficiently awed by fireworks? Do we have a good supply of photographs with ice cream smeared all over their faces? Does a summer day without schedule still make them happy? Can they decide and order for themselves in a restaurant? Do they make good choices?

Kindergarten, grade school, middle school, high school, college: we are ticking off the list at an alarmingly rapid rate, but I'm happy to see, when it's all spelled out, that they are just at the start of the middle, on the ladder of educational markers.  My children are now the big kids, the ones who seemed so tall and scary to me five years ago. They'll walk confidently in on the first day, not dressed up or even wearing something new (I've been warned). They're ready, and so am I. But that first day, it's always a killer, as new things, even ones quite familiar,  so often are.

As I review and edit my children are in the back yard building a pirate ship out of Adirondack chairs and a tree swing, I'm feeling pretty good about the childhood check list.


Nellie said...

Oh, yes! The years of childhood are very short ones! Our grandson entered middle school this year - two weeks already into the year. He decked himself out in Under Armor togs for his first day!:-) Granddaughter is in 4th. We want to hold onto as much of childhood as they will allow! Sending hugs!

Chrisann said...

They are so precious! Hoping this next step is a wonderful transition for them. Love your sweet family!


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