It’s no secret that I’ve been pretty excited for Cameron to move on from each stage as he grows. Every stage of development has been difficult, from acid reflux as a baby to the sassy toddler who made a million encores after being put to bed every night (a tradition that still continues today), to middle school, which needs no further explanation. Yet today, as we prepare for him to leave middle school and move on to high school, I can’t help feeling emotional. I have worked with middle schoolers in some capacity for 13 years of my career, with eight of those being placed exclusively in a middle school. I was prepared for the difficult times we would experience as parents of a middle school-aged child– as prepared as one could be for the emotional roller coaster that is early adolescence. I was prepared for the sassiness, and the moodiness, the back talk, and having uncomfortable conversations. I wasn’t prepared for how quickly the time would go. I wasn’t prepared for the unexpected peak in growth (literal and figurative) we have seen and the small lights of hope that are maturity. I have lived so long in survival mode with my head down and my boxing gloves poised and ready that the moments of clarity and maturity take me by surprise. Did he really just ask if he could write thank you cards to all of his middle school teachers? Is he actually begging to volunteer with kids who have disabilities? Did he truly just go to an invite-only (from the librarian) event at the library where he knew NO ONE because he felt like the librarian would be disappointed if he didn’t go, and then did he actually have a fantastic time and even do the worm in front of some random older kids he just met? Yes! Yes! And double yes!
We have four years left. The last three in middle school have passed with lightning speed, so I know the next four will feel like a movie- genre, rating, and review to be determined. We have four short years left to help Cameron learn the executive functioning skills with which he still struggles. Four years that we still have some control over some of his choices that may or may not affect his future. Four years to help him become a productive citizen who is kind and independent. Four years to hug him and have talks over hot chocolate and listen to his teenage drama-because he still wants to tell us about some of it. Four years to teach him how to put away his clothes, change his sheets, shop for groceries, and respect women. There is a lot to do! I have a lot of feelings about all of this! So many days are so difficult, yet transitioning away from even those difficult times is emotional and a bit scary. My mantra is always, “This too shall pass.” I just didn’t know how quickly it would pass, even when it felt like forever while in the moments. I remember trying to savor every baby moment with Cameron’s sister because I knew how little time there is when you can hold them and smell them and rock them and they’ll just let you do it. As Cameron transitions into high school, I realize that I need to savor the next four years too. He may not let me hold him and smell him (although I do sometimes– someone needs to tell the boy he stinks) and rock him, but he is still my child. And he probably needs me more now than he did then. Onward to high school! Godspeed!
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