I vividly remember the first day of preschool. They woke up early, had chocolate milk in fancy cups for breakfast and had picked out their outfits a week in advance. I sobbed for a solid hour after drop off, unable to grasp the fact that my babies were already off to school. It was hard to imagine at the time but the elementary years fly by. Every first day of school photo seemed to come faster than the rest and before I knew it, fifth grade was coming to an end.
Final class parties, field days, music programs, etc.
The days of elementary events and activities were drawing to a close, leaving a monumental hole in my heart and our schedules. I watched them evolve from the babies to the big kids, volunteering to welcome the incoming kindergartners, orchestrating team projects and joining in on every and any opportunity to be involved. They started making their own lunches every morning, picked out clothes that rarely matched and applying deodorant was a normal everyday occurrence. The little girl who would request a new hairstyle each morning began avoiding me at all costs and sporting the headband and ponytail look. The boy that never cared about his appearance was suddenly concerned about cologne and hair gel/
So much happens during the elementary years that we don’t always notice until they are over. We spend so many nights helping with homework and chauffeuring them to their various activities that we don’t realize how much they’ve changed during the journey to fifth grade.
Preparing for middle school has been a daunting task for me.
There are so many unknowns that come with it. Will they do okay with the larger workload? Are people going to be their friends? How awkward will the awkward years truly be? It’s a new school with new teachers and new classmates, but my resilient children could not be more excited. They are ready for more responsibilities and are eager to grow up. I remember when I was in their shoes. The idea of being older seemed like a lifetime away and oh so exciting. What I would give to make them understand how great these years really are!
Easier said than done, as we all know.
This summer will be spent gathering up the necessary supplies and letting them explore their independence. I’ll prepare for their upcoming physical and emotional changes while embracing whatever small amount of time they want to spend with me. I’ll continue to dance along the line between discipline and driving them away, while I try to stop hovering quite as much as I have previously. We’re in a fun limbo right now, living beyond the temper tantrums and slowly easing into the hormonal roller coaster. I can honestly say I enjoy being around my kids at this age, but I know that hard years are right around the corner.
I might accept that they are growing up but that doesn’t mean I’m a fan by any definition.
So mama’s with babies just starting school, squeeze them a little longer and take all of the photos you can. Attend the field trips, volunteer for the class parties and let them wear the mismatched clothes to school. One day they won’t enjoy the photos and the clothing battle will be one that’s impossible to win. Embrace the chaos that comes with the elementary years, because like our children growing up, those years go faster than you think.