Middle School: On Letting Go And Letting Her GrowAugust 13th, 2012 | Posted by in Parenting
Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was shopping for a pink Disney Princess backpack and colorful school supplies for my soon to be kindergartener? I fondly remember the excitement of her transitioning from preschool to “big school” and all its newness, from backpacks and lockers to school lunches in the cafeteria and field trips on the big yellow bus. My daughter is officially a middle schooler here in Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and when I reach down to kiss her I am reminded that she is nearly as tall as I am.
How did the sweet elementary school years fly by so quickly? Wasn’t she just beaming with pride to show me how well she could read and learning sweet songs for the fall Thanksgiving program?
As our family sat and listened to her new principal’s welcoming speech at the middle school open house, I picked up on issues that have until now been unfamiliar to her dad and me. Cell phone policies and talk of school dances—whoa, this 5th grade thing really is all new territory. I am reminded constantly that not only is this a transitional time of growth, both physically and mentally, for her, but for me as a parent. Welcome to the tween years.
I remember my own middle school years and being one of the “smart kids,” a skinny girl with braces and crazy, wavy hair I had yet to figure out how to tame. Middle school is such an important, transitional time to help prepare for the even more transitional high school years. Middle school means growing up in many ways. Middle school means letting go in many ways.
Although I am excited and happy for my daughter as she embarks on this new school experience, there’s a small part of me that is wistful about her elementary school years. I feel like we are saying goodbye to innocent years filled with playdates and Barbies and saying hello to headier issues such as peer pressure and bullying. Is she prepared to navigate these new issues? Am I prepared to help her?
My daughter has a great head on her shoulders, though, and is an excellent student who loves school. She has a great support system of family and friends. These next four years will be an exciting new chapter of her life and someday, as she is about to embark on her high school years, I’ll think wistfully back on this time just as I did her elementary school days. Until then, I still have a second grader and in three short years we will get to experience this middle school newness and excitement all over again.
Native Nashvillian Jamie Reeves is a mom to two girls who has been blogging since 2005 at Blonde Mom Blog.