To My Son, Who Is About to Graduate From Elementary School
The year was 1991 and my parents got me a boom box for my elementary school graduation. I remember sitting in the MPR, listening to our Principal speak about how we were off for more adventures. A few months later, I walked around my junior high, confused, worried but also excited. This was a whole new world for me. A whole new adventure.
The truth was, those middle school years were the worst.
I hated my 7th-grade year for so many reasons. In 8th grade, I was able to transfer to another school and things got a little better. For one, I met one of my best friends that I am still close with today, all these years later. Luckily the two years passed, I started high school and life went on.
Fast forward to 2017 and my oldest son is about to spend his last few weeks in elementary school. I don’t think his school is having any kind of graduation ceremony but I know on that last day of school I am going to be crying buckets. This change, it’s going to be a big one.
He will be off to middle school in a fall. I will be a mom of a middle schooler. And soon after the school year starts, he will hit the big 13. He has already changed so much the last year or so. Slowly turning from my little boy to the man he will become.
This kid, he is almost as tall as me. I am 5’9 too. If I was any shorter he would have already passed me. His voice is deeper and sometimes that surprises me. Who is this “man” living in my house?
He would turn 5, go off to kindergarten, then 1st grade, 2nd and eventually would become a teenager. But now that we are here, it seems so hard to believe.
As the oldest boy in our home, he will go through everything first. His younger brothers are watching all this and I am pretty sure his 10-year-old brother is taking notes.
As I look to him and the next few months I want to tell him so many things.
I want him to know that the middle school years might not be the greatest. As I have never been a teenage boy, I can’t relate to a lot of what he is going to have to go through. I can’t understand what life during those years will be like for him.
I also don’t know what it is like to be a teenager in this social media world that we now live in. I didn’t get a phone until I was 21 and my first experiences with social media were when I was in my mid-20s. I don’t know what it is like to spend all day at school, come home, and know that I could talk with all of my classmates in a virtual world.
Bullying has always been around and it was there in my middle school years but cyber bullying is a whole new world. I want to keep my sons safe from all that.
But as I look at him, ending his elementary school years there are some things I can tell him.
I can tell him to always care about people, even when it is hard to do so. Caring about others will take you far.
I can tell him to be himself. To not worry about what others think and to know that these years are going to be a trying time when it comes to this.
I can tell him that I will always be there. To hear his stories. To share his thoughts with. He will also be my little boy, no matter how tall or big he gets and I will always love him.
I can tell him that friendships will probably change and that’s okay. That he will meet new people and they might become lifelong friends or just be there for a few years.
I can tell him that there will be pressure to do things that he knows that he shouldn’t. That he could be asked to try things that he knows he shouldn’t. That saying no to these things might be hard but that standing up and doing so will be the right thing to do.
As I think about the teenage years, I get a little scared.
I don’t know what they will be like. All I have to go on is my own experiences and all I can do is make the best choices that I can to help my son through his own middle school years.
So as we finish up my son’s elementary school chapter, I will look ahead and know that this is all a part of raising him. These years, hard as they might be, are all a part of the deal. They are a part of the 18 years we signed up for when we decided to have a baby. And like others before, we will get through them, even if it is one day at a time.