I am totally freaking out about middle school.
It’s such a tough time, right? How is it possible that my girl will be in middle school this fall? I have no freaking idea where the hell the time has gone. Her fifth grade year was interrupted by our mid-year move to a new state and a new school. I didn’t move as a kid, so it was hard for me to relate to having to find your way again. But we all have to start over again. Just because I didn’t move in my elementary school years didn’t mean I couldn’t share a bit of what I’ve learned about college and my many moves out of state. It may have helped a little, but in the end, it was all on her. And she struggled a bit, but then she soared.
At her end of the year ceremony, she brought home lots of awards for academic achievement. And that makes me so proud, but beyond the academic stuff, I’m most proud of how beautifully she’s handling changes and starting over again. She’ll rock middle school, I just know it. And with a
bit of wine whole lot of tequila, I just may enjoy it too.
Preschool ended for my little one recently. Now on to the next chapter: summer camp.
She seems way too little for this. Just – too small, you know? Like, I still see her baby face and her little lips and her sweet little voice and I wonder how can she be four years old?
And yet, her big sister did summer camp starting at age three and she totally loved it. Oh sure, my memory is probably not terrific. But I do remember staying by her side on occasion if she was having a particularly difficult morning. And I shed my fair share of mommy tears as I drove away wondering if I was doing the right thing. It was a fantastic summer camp in Syracuse; I wasn’t worried about her safety. Or whether she’d have fun. It was more about the guilt of not being one of those moms that stays home with their kids in the summer. As much as I love that, I also love my work, so that just wasn’t me.
I asked her recently what she remembered from those years: friends, endless arts and crafts, water sports, field trips and games, one special friend who she’s now connected with on Instagram. All good stuff. All happy memories. Very reassuring.
In a sweet twist of events, big sister was with me for little one’s first day drop off. We filled her backpack with snacks. Lunch. A water bottle. A change of clothes just in case. She held her hand as we walked in the church hall. She found her cubby, put her things away and went into the big room where lots of kids were coloring. A bit shy, not quite sure if she would like this summer camp thing. Big sister crouched down to her level, told her about what it was like for her and how she was a little scared at first, too. Eventually, little one gave us hugs and inched her way over to the coloring table. She blew us kisses as we walked away.
I felt the sting of tears in my eyes and that familiar lump in my throat. A feeling that I think every mom feels when they drop their kids off at childcare, preschool or summer camp. I tried to suck it up and not get all water-works in front of my older daughter, but a few tears fell. With just a few words she made me feel better. “Mom, she’s gonna love it. You’ll see.”
*Postscript: When we picked her up a few hours later, she was all smiles. The next day, she even yelled at me for coming to pick her up too early. God, the guilt goes both ways doesn’t it?