My daughter can see it on the horizon: Freedom like she’s never known before.
For weeks now, she and the other 71 fifth graders at her school have been a little more electric at the thought of graduating from elementary school and moving on to the next level. Visits by the various middle schools that she and her friends will go to have made their big shows, sharing with them all of the new activities, options, and freedoms that will be available in the fall.
There’s after school drama, step teams, honor societies, sports groups, and even a “radical ropers” team that blows you away with an amazing display of choreographed jump roping to upbeat pop music.
She and the others are ready. They have been king of the hill at the elementary school for half a school year, and they see that freedom just a few months away. Will I dance? Will I act? Will I play soccer? Field hockey? Basketball? What will I do with all of that free time now that I’ll be getting out of school nearly 70 minutes earlier every day?
I, on the other hand, see all that freedom for her as well and hold my breath. Although I am excited for her–even thankful that she’ll be offered so many new opportunities that she just doesn’t have right now (but is certainly ready for), I am having just a teeny weeny tiny bit of trouble facing the fact that, indeed, my little girl is growing up.
Last night, I sat in a large auditorium at her new middle school and listened to competent teachers (I bashed every one of them, by the way, as they talked to us–You aren’t good enough to teach my young daughter! How old are you, after all? And what’s up with talking to me like I’m a stupid parent afraid to let his kid move on???). I criticized every one of them. Judged them. Made up my mind that, no, this was not the school for her. I even drew little sad faces next to each of their names on the program as they spoke to us. Sure, one or two of them got the straight-line for a mouth (I guess they were ok), but everybody from the principal down to he counselor got a less than satisfactory rating from me as they spoke.
But then I came home, and I saw the look in her eye as she asked me if I thought that the principal was just about the coolest grandmotherly type person EVER, and what did I think of the classrooms, the auditorium, and the lockers. She asked me about the extra-curricular activities, the really great young teachers that she can already relate to, and the Mascot that’s ferocious enough to scare away any other middle school in the Baltimore area.
I saw that, despite all of my childish poopy-face drawings I might have scribbled next to the people who will be caring for my growing-up little girl for the next three years, she was going to be more than okay at this school.
I was the one screaming all the way down the hall….I don’t wanna go to middle school!
Maybe they’ll tell the kids at an early assembly just how hard the transition is for us parents, and it’ll be their turn to draw poopy smiley faces on the program as counselors warn them that this is a critical time in a parents’ development through early let-go adolescence.
Certainly I don’t think that I’m alone…I’m sure that when that big ol’ yellow bus pulls up to the front of my house in late August, I’m going to be the one dragging my feet all the way to the front door….
No!!!!!! You can’t make me deal with this!!!!!
I won’t I won’t I won’t!
But she will, and there’s nothing I can do but step aside and let her be happy and free as she graduates from more than just elementary school.
Oh–and maybe give those old, those young, and those patronizing teachers a second chance… right?
(I don’t wanna!…)