My Baby is All Grown Up!

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Every June, I roll up my sleeves, put on my organization hat and tackle the difficult task of wrapping up the school year for four children. 

That equals three schools, approximately 20 teacher gifts and 20 love notes expressing my appreciation for the jobs that are, second to mine, the most important ones on my children’s lives.  Most of you probably share similar stress but most likely it’s cut in half.  I’m not saying – “poor me” … but rather, thank God it’s over! 

To top it off, I hosted (with a LOT of help) the 6th grade graduation hoorah at my house for two classes, 80 parents along with faculty and head of school, that’s 150 peeps!  It was a huge undertaking but such a beautiful night many of us will never forget.  My 12 year old graduated from elementary school last week and parted ways with many friends that she has been with for seven years. 

I was beyond touched listening to the children’s speeches, recaps of what they have learned and appreciation for the values they will take with them.  I often wonder what will stick in our children’s tender years.  After listening to many 12-year-old philosophies, I am hopeful. 

One boy said he learned how to be a “learner” and that he will continue to thirst for more information in the years to come. Isn’t that what early education is about? Discovery and the joy of putting the pieces together in a sensible manor. How great to be stimulated by curiosity and continue to learn all your life. That certainly drives most of my passions.  Another child said he learned the value of self-respect and that he knows now that his actions will not only represent himself, but his family as well as his school.  I loved hearing that accountability.

At the party’s end, almost every child cried, even the tough boys.  I didn’t expect that.  Everyone is moving on to a new school – some together and many apart.  Seeing the connection – and the depth of friendship – I think was a beautiful thing.  I hope they make the effort to stay in touch and understand that friendship is possible from afar and even in the busiest times.

I felt like my daughter grew up overnight and that made me both proud and sad.  Part of me feels like I’m losing her and the other part is so excited to watch her develop and explore.  She came to me in bed last night (she never does that), and kissed me and asked if she could crawl in and cuddle up. She is as big as me, but still felt like a little girl that night. If the lights were on, she would have seen the smile on my face – but I know she felt the warmth that we exchanged in those moments.  I sure wish there were more of them…

Looking back at the past seven years, I am so grateful for the education she has had and I hope the next decade will be as successful – as she starts middle school.  The topic of conversation among the moms was about the new, huge world our children will enter in the fall, when they start at a new school full of kids from all over with many years on them.  Some less sheltered, some more experimental, some smarter, more rebellious, more experienced, less supervised.  I can only imagine what the new scene will be like and remembering my 7th grade through high school years is no comfort at all.  But TRUST is my comfort, and communication gives me confidence. 

I trust my children a LOT.  And they know that.  So much that I give them freedom until I need to take it away.  I also speak to my girls about everything and I’m confident in their values.  I am quickly learning as I meet more and more of their friends from outside their school circle, how important the company they keep is. I control as much as I can and then I let go and have faith that my kids will make respectable choices.  It’s not easy to stop leading but I think there comes a time when you need to make room for your child to find their way. 

I remember when she couldn’t cross the street alone and now she’s like, “Mom you can wait in the car.”   Thankfully I still have two little ones holding my hand so my attention gets redirected.  I cannot imagine the emotions of having only one child and watching them grow up too fast.  I will be the mom at school who has been there the longest.  One down, three to go.

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