By Megan Wirts
This is it, the day that many of us have been waiting for and others have been dreading.
The first day of school is upon us! WOOHOO!!!! I’m a little bit excited, but I also feel like this summer flew right by and there wasn’t enough. It’s happening whether we like it or not though. The backpacks are packed, lunches have been made and small people all over the county went to bed early and woke up to head off to the land of learning.
While I am ready to break out the champagne and start the day with a mimosa to celebrate, it will feel a little bittersweet. My babies are both in middle school this year! That means in 4 years they will both be in high school and in 5 years my oldest will be off to college!
PLEASE STOP TIME RIGHT NOW, I AM NOT READY FOR THIS!
How is it that just a few minutes ago they were squishy little toddlers constantly by my side and now they are these independent, almost fully-grown humans? Some days I feel like we have all the time in the world, while other times it feels like time is slipping through my fingers. It almost makes me feel guilty for wishing for bedtime to come faster when they were smaller or for wanting to gouge out my eyes if I had to watch one more episode of Thomas the Train with them.
Even though the thought of my small people growing up and leaving me brings me to tears and makes my heart ache, I can’t wait to see what they will do with their lives. Don’t let me get ahead of myself here though, I can save the waterworks for a few years. First, they need to get through middle school.
I don’t know many people that would say middle school was the greatest time in their lives, even those that enjoyed it. Middle school is a time when some of the most intense changes happen to us, our emotions and hormones are out of control and the pressures to fit in and do well in school can feel overwhelming. Watching my children go through all of this while trying to parent them in a way that isn’t going to cause permanent damage can be challenging.
All I can do is my best and sometimes that best is telling them tales of my own awkwardness, embarrassment and cringe worthy moments. Like the time I wore white jeans to school and peed my pants. It was during the last hour of the day and I had to go so bad because I didn’t have time to go between classes (who has time to go between classes!).
My teacher wouldn’t let me leave, he figured I could hold it, but I couldn’t and left a puddle on my seat. It was mortifying! After that, he always let me use the bathroom when I asked (which sometimes I did use to my advantage) and I never wore white jeans again.
There was also the time that I wore purple from head to toe and everyone called me Barney the Dinosaur. The color purple was ruined for me. Then there were all the crushes on boys that were unrequited and the memories of middle school dances where the boys stood on one side and the girls on the other nervously giggling. All of us waiting for one of them to get up the courage to ask us to slow dance. Then when they finally did the smell of cologne was so strong that my eyes stung, I went into a coughing fit and had an asthma attack.
Embarrassing things happened to me, mean girls existed and were mean to me, and I wasn’t the most popular but I lived to tell about it.
It wasn’t all bad though. I met my best friend Faune when we were in the 6th grade and we have been friends ever since. I played Mrs. Cratchit in A Christmas Carol in the 7th grade and was bitten by the theater bug right then. I joined my first choir when I was in middle school and fell in love with singing. I discovered some of the greatest loves of my life when I was in middle school and I wouldn’t change a thing about it (except maybe that unfortunate perm I had). I tell them that in time all that awkwardness will be some of the funniest memories and greatest stories to share. If you have a good sense of humor about life, you can get through almost anything. Including the acne filled days of adolescence.
Besides, who wants to peak in middle school, or high school or college for that matter? I tell them not to be concerned with popularity or superficial things. Popularity fades away and the newest iPhone will be old in less than a year. Those things aren’t worth it. My advice to them is to avoid the drama, get your assignments turned in on time, make good friends that like you for who you are, and laugh at those awkward moments.
You have plenty of time to grow up, don’t rush it.
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